email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Practicing MindfulnessA Journey Into Yin YogaA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Student's Guide to the History And Philosophy of Yoga A.M. EnergyAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAlready FreeAlternative Medicine?AltruismAnd BreatheAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBack To Basics: Fitness with Charlotte OrdBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutBeyond the SelfBody By BethennyBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBreath-Centered YogaBrightening Our Inner SkiesCalm Body Clear MindCalm Focus JoyCardio for Beginners with Petra KolberChakra MeditationsComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCultural Healing and Belief SystemsDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDeep ListeningDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDetox YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Yoga House CallEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Everything VeganExercise for Mood and AnxietyExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily YogaFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFood You Can ForageFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Fit Through GardeningGet Ripped & ChiseledGet Stronger Bones: 3 Workouts For OsteoporosisHandbook of MindfulnessHappy Yoga DVDHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing through ExerciseHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealing, Hype, or Harm?Healthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHow to Be a StoicHow to Cook Everything VegetarianHow Would Buddha Act?In Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangIntegrated YogaKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKripalu YogaKundalini Yoga : DVDKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga MeditationKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLetting Go!LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLunar Flow YogaMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMeditations for BeginnersMindful AmericaMindful ColoringMindfulnessMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness for CarersMindfulness for TwoMindfulness in Plain EnglishMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMisadventures of a Garden State YogiNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1Natural FlexibilityNew Good FoodNew VegetarianNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNutrition Essentials for Mental HealthPain Free at WorkPeace Is Every BreathPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPower Yoga: Strength and FlexibilityPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodRadiant Heart Yoga DVDReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRelax Into Yoga for SeniorsResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSelfless InsightSleepSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStress Relief to GoStretchStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Zen Tummy TonersThe 6 Qualities of ConsciousnessThe Accidental VeganThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Best Things You Can EatThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Get Healthy, Go Vegan CookbookThe Harvard Medical School Guide to YogaThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Light of DiscoveryThe Mandala of BeingThe Meat Lover's Meatless CookbookThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Nature FixThe Perfect ExerciseThe Psychology of LifestyleThe Qi Healing KitThe Road to Calm WorkbookThe Science of SleepThe Science of YogaThe Sense of SelfThe Spirit of Buddhist MeditationThe Spirit of Tibetan BuddhismThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Ultra MindsetThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Yin Yoga KitTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Cardio Dance FlowTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Visitor 2008Viniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWeight Watchers: Ultimate Belly SeriesYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYoga - Philosophy for EveryoneYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga as MedicineYoga Bliss HipsYoga BodyYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Emergency DVD: PregnancyYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for AthletesYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for FitnessYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for Your WeekYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress ReliefYoga Quick FixesYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga TherapyYoga TherapyYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga, Karma, and RebirthYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaZen Encounters with Loneliness
Since the appearance of Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician’s Guide to Evidence Base and Applications, which is the first book to appear in Western literature on mindfulness-based therapy approaches, there have been increasing interest among therapists, who wish to integrate mindfulness into their therapeutic approaches. Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy: Mindfulness-Based Practices for Healing and Transformation by Tim Desmond is a compelling example in this trend as it offers a fascinating approach into the heart of both mindfulness and psychotherapy.
Tim Desmond is one of the leading psychotherapists in this area, who believes that self-compassion is intimately related to the practice of mindfulness. After having spent years of studying with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Desmond has learned that it is impossible to truly separate mindfulness and self-compassion, as “you cannot have mindfulness without compassion, and the practice of compassion always begins with compassion toward oneself” (p. 3).
The leading idea in this book is that teaching clients to practice self-compassion can lead to tremendous healing; and it aims to provide clinicians and therapists a handy tool to apply self-compassion practices to real-life clinical situations. Desmond maintains that the practice of self-compassion supports effective therapy in two vital ways. First of all, it helps clients become a source of compassion for themselves, and secondly, it helps therapists be happier and generate more compassion for their clients. In order to explain what is self-compassion and why it is useful in therapy, in the first chapter, Desmond describes key ingredients and near enemies of self-compassion. What he calls the key ingredients of self-compassion three specific types of understanding, namely to understand that the person suffers, to understand that the person wants to be happy and to understand that we are not fundamentally separate from each other. Desmond is very careful to distinguish self-compassion from self-esteem, which is basically an evaluation of oneself, albeit a positive one, whereas self-compassion is about relating to oneself with a kind and forgiving attitude. The other attitudes toward oneself, which he calls near enemies of self-compassion are self-ındulgence, self-pity, egotism and passivity.
By distinguishing self-compassion from other attitudes and indicating that compassion somehow makes direct contact with our pain, he continues to explore how to help clients develop self-compassion, as well as how practicing it for the therapist himself/herself can make him/her a happier and more effective therapist, with how-to manual of simple practices in the following chapters. The second chapter titled The Science of Self-Compassion is devoted exploring five distinct areas of research from various distinct fields, including cognitive science, neuroscience, psychotherapy outcome research, self-compassion research and positive psychology to emphasize that self-compassion is a vital part of effective therapy and that it is supported by cutting-edge science.
The third chapter is titled as Basic Clinical Principles. The core message of this chapter is that all self-compassion practices can arise naturally out of the therapeutic relationship, rather than rigidly following a script. Both psychotherapy outcome research and Buddhist psychology emphasize the importance of building a compassionate alliance between therapist and client. In this chapter by providing word for word transcripts he introduces what he calls dialogue-based mindfulness (DBM) in order to better guide clients through meditation exercises.
The following two chapters are about mindfulness of the body and mindfulness of mind, respectively. Mindfulness of the body includes techniques for building affect tolerance and regulation. Mindfulness of thoughts, on the other hand, includes techniques for building cognitive flexibility.
Chapter six, titled Unlocking A Client’s Natural Compassion, builds on the belief that there is a deep well of compassion inside every person and is about how we can tap into it. In this chapter, Desmond takes on to explore the meaning of compassion in more detail using a traditional Buddhist four-part definition, namely its nature, function, proximate cause and manifestation. Once we know how to get in touch with the limitless source of compassion inside ourselves, the next few chapters will focus on how we can use this energy for transformation and healing.
Chapter seven is about using compassion to heal and transform suffering in the past and present. Desmond uses Thich Nhat Hanh’s example of the image of a mother embracing her crying baby to illustrate how this process works. If we can hold our suffering like a mother holds her crying baby, with that kind of openness and warmth, this can be enough to create real transformation and healing. He introduces a basic model of the mind and mental functioning, which consists of the fact that the past informs the present; that thinking always creates stories to make sense of our experience (constructivism); and that our brains have many different processes happening in any given moment (modularity) to explain how we can direct compassion right at the source of our suffering.
The next chapter is about using compassion to overcome stubborn self-criticism and self-sabotage. In this chapter he describes a theory, what he calls modular constructivism, in order to make sense out of stubborn self-criticism and self-sabotage. The idea of this model is to direct compassion to the part of the client that is causing his/her suffering.
Chapter nine is devoted giving more specific guidance about how to use mindfulness and self-compassion practices with people experienced trauma, addiction and psychosis. The underlying idea here is the Buddhist saying that all compassion comes from suffering, and that great compassion comes from great suffering.
Chapter ten outlines several specific clinical roadblocks to self-compassion and offers suggestions for how they might be overcome. He suggests that to develop comfort and confidence using self-compassion in psychotherapy, one of the best ways is to go over the transcripts he has provided throughout in this book, especially in chapter four. Second, and the more importantly, he recommends therapists to apply the practices in this book to their own life and their own sufferings. The last chapter is entirely focused on this. He strongly emphasizes that by cultivating the skill of self-compassion in their clients, mental health professionals can help them more effectively and sustainably navigate difficult emotions, transform negative core beliefs, manage states of depression, anxiety, and shame, transcend suffering, and motivate themselves with kindness rather than criticism. In turn, as clinicians learn how to be more self-compassionate they naturally begin to feel more compassion for even the most difficult clients.
The wonderful insights, vignettes and wise teachings sprinkled throughout Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy will be of great benefit to any clinician who wishes to incorporate compassion practices into his/her work. However, readers do not need any background in mindfulness in order to benefit from this book, since Desmond offers exceptionally clear, accessible and insightful guidance in how to facilitate deep transformation for a wide range of emotional sufferings. What really makes this book unique is to show how at-home practices can emerge naturally from a mindful and compassionate co-exploration of the client’s experience. I heartly recommend this book for any clinician who wishes to more deeply integrate mindfulness and psychotherapy.
© 2017 Kamuran Elbeyoğlu
Kamuran Elbeyoğlu (Prof. Dr.), Toros University, School of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Yenisehir, 33140 Mersin, Turkey.