The CMF takes Compassion to California

26th April 2016

Members of the Compassionate Mind Foundation have spent the last few weeks touring California in the USA, meeting, teaching and sharing ideas with different audiences interested in Compassion Focussed Therapy.

Paul Gilbert, the Foundation’s founder and leader, began the tour with a keynote address at the International ‘Cultural Lens in Psychotherapy’ Conference held in Los Angeles. Surrounded by a delegation of experts and therapists, Paul talked about the way evolution has set our minds to respond to certain social and cultural contexts and certain ways of being.

He was able to suggest that, given the epidemiology of mental health problems, culture is the primary factor influencing how we are going to prevent these difficulties. Among the other speakers were others who addressed mental health concerns and also the factors contributing to challenging and complex relationships.  

From there, Paul and the team flew to San Francisco, where he ran a one-day introductory workshop on Compassion Focussed Therapy. This is a course regularly run by the Foundation in the UK, so it was wonderful to extend its reach to colleagues across the pond. You can read about the course synopsis here.

The delegation moved to Stanford University, a private research university and one of the world's most prestigious institutions. Once there, Paul took part in a Compassion Conference held in association with the University of Edinburgh. This struck a particular chord with Paul who is a PhD graduate from Edinburgh. Encouragingly, the Scottish and Finnish delegates expressed a particular interest in partnering with the Foundation, so watch this space.

Not deterred by the punishing agenda, Paul was joined by Dr Brooke Dodson Lavelle, Co-Founder & President at Courage of Care Coalition, to run a one-day experiential workshop just south of San Jose. The pair were welcomed by participants who gathered at the Oceans of Compassion Buddhist Centre. Many remarked on how the workshop material had added new dimensions to Buddhist insights.

One of the goals of the trip had been to explore the potential for developing more extensive training in Compassion Focussed Therapy across the world. Among the discussions held, Paul and the team met with the Dean and others at the University of Palo Alto, where promising opportunities were raised. Paul also met with several website developers to explore how training could be facilitated online, when face-to-face learning is challenging.

As well as achieving a number of positive outcomes through meetings with American counterparts, the tour has demonstrated that the demand for CFT training is expanding at an exponential rate. The appetite is certainly promising if we are to address some of life’s toughest universal difficulties, but ad hoc training will not meet the demand. The challenge for us is to accomplish significant structural development to achieve mass outreach, as well as developing a supervision network to encourage best practice across the world.

If would like to contribute to the development of the Foundation and its international expansion goals, please get in touch here