The Compassionate Mind Foundation was founded by Professor Paul Gilbert. Paul is an internationally recognised researcher, speaker and trainer and received an OBE for his contribution to improving mental health in the 2011 New Years honours list.

Since it was established in 2006, the Compassionate Mind Foundation has supported global academic research and hosted the Annual Global Conference on Compassion, bringing together leaders in the field. The CMF community has also worked to develop, practice and promote Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), now used by thousands of clinicians around the world.



Our Mission & Aim


The Compassionate Mind Foundation (CMF) is a charity which promotes wellbeing through facilitating the scientific understanding and application of compassion. It is underpinned by the theories put forward in the compassion focused therapy literature and research, including compassionate mind theory. 

The CMF supports research and teaching of an evolution and contemplative informed compassion focused approach to human difficulties. We provide workshops, conferences, and a number of different resources for clinicians and individuals to support their work and personal practice, and facilitate the open discussion on how to promote compassionate motives and behaviours across all domains. The CMF supports dissemination of the flow of compassion whereby we are able to be compassionate to others, open to the compassion from others, and compassionate to ourselves. 


What is compassion?


When people hear the word compassion, they tend to think of kindness. But scientific study has found the core of compassion to be courage.

A standard definition of compassion is, "a sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it."

The courage to be compassionate lies in the willingness to see into the nature and causes of suffering - be that in ourselves, in others and the human condition. The challenge is to acquire the wisdom we need to address the causes of suffering in ourselves and others.

Compassion is one of the most important declarations of strength and courage known to humanity. It is difficult and powerful, infectious and influential. It is a universally recognised motivation with the ability to change the world.

Our work 


A guiding principle of the Compassionate Mind Foundation is that our human potentials for creativity, love, altruism, compassion, but also for selfishness, vengeance and cruelty are all linked to the way our brains have evolved to solve various challenges to survival.

Modern research is beginning to illuminate the genetic basis of these dispositions and the way our social relationships, from the cradle to the grave, shape our brains and value systems, and thus dispositions to create different patterns of activity in our brains. The more we understand these processes the more we can understand how different patterns in our minds are created. This knowledge allows us to stand back and explore ways to manage the potentials in our evolved brains’ such that we can advance certain dispositions and potentials over others.


If you would like further information about compassion for individuals, the Compassionate Wellbeing organisation runs public workshops designed to introduce some of the theories and techniques developed by leading figures in the field of compassion research and practise. These workshops aim to provide a relaxed and supportive atmosphere in which you can learn how to utilise the benefits of compassionate for yourself and others. For more information visit the Compassionate Wellbeing website. If you feel Compassion Focused Therapy would be useful to you, your local GP can signpost you to CFT counsellors in your area, or you may find it useful to consult this CFT directory. Please note, the CMF is not a professional accrediting body, and cannot monitor or endorse the practice of the (self-described) CFT-interested therapists listed on this website. A listing on this directory in no way equates to endorsement or recommendation for clinical services. 


The Compassionate Mind Foundation supports thousands of clinicians around the world to develop, practice and promote Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). In addition to delivering a number of workshops and training programmes, we provide clinicians with resources including training materials, handouts, practices and scales.