An Introduction to Compassion Led Therapy.
In recent years there has been much in the news about how we can all benefit from the practise of ‘ self -care’(often seen as very millennial/ new age and perhaps for some a tad selfish) and there has been increase in terms used such as heart centred , holistic and mindfulness in practise… and now we are seeing the term Compassion Led Therapy becoming much more common…
But what does all this mean in terms of approach and most importantly in terms of the client seeking recovery and support?
As with many things both Mindfulness and Compassion Led Therapy are actually not new at all. The way of working with a client through these techniques has been used in different cultures for many centuries. It has not always been accepted as part of the scientific approach to recovery and therapy but often seen as ‘alternative’… thankfully we are now becoming much more accepting that a mixture of science-based approach alongside more spiritual and meditative practises can bring wonderful results.
In a nut- shell Compassion Led Therapy is all about putting the client at the heart of the practise. Of course, as a therapist I will be compassionate with my client, but this term is actually about allowing the client to reach a space in which they feel compassionate about themselves. For many reasons this may be a new concept to them. Clients are extremely hard on themselves – they can be carrying shame and guilt, confusion, fear, blame ... and compassion may be something they do not believe they are worthy or deserving of.
Compassion is about empathy, understanding and acceptance… it is at the heart of recovery for me because it sits as a feeling – it is not simply thinking differently it is about that knowing and the feeling that come with it.
Compassion led Therapy works as a combination in my practise of a holistic approach – I do not wish to simply cure a symptom but resolve the underlying reason for the symptom. Many clients will say they had treatment for numerous symptoms – anxiety, panic attacks, forms of self-harm ... the symptom is cured but only for the issue to resurrect itself in another form later on – because the underlying reason was still there. It is nearly always the symptom which drives a client to seek support... but it is the reason and cause which will be the catalyst to change.
It is important to look at what is being experienced in the mind in terms of thoughts and feelings , the body in terms of physical reactions and the soul in terms of peace and fulfillment – please note that soul does not have to have any faith or religious beliefs attached. Your soul is that inner part of you ... it embodies who you are. This is holistic practise.
Mindfulness is the tool which allows clients to start to build trust with themselves again giving a variety of techniques that allow the client to explore what is and has happened in a safe and gentle way... learning a practise they can continue to use outside of the clinic room.
Self -care for me sums up the ongoing nurturing that happens. Taking time to ensure we value ourselves and set aside time for things which allow us to be fulfilled.
Importantly compassion led practise is taken at the pace of the client – there are not set sessions in which certain things need to be completed because trust is vital, and time is seen as a gift in which the client is allowed to explore.
Overall it is a chance for someone to uncover the person they are and start to see how much they have to offer most importantly to themselves before anyone else. Alongside traditional talking therapy I have seen clients make wonderful long-term recovery ... feeling healed from both symptom and cause ... feeling complete, valued and worthy.
And I truly believe everyone is deserving of that .
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