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Developing our Compassionate Minds

Tues 24 April 2018, 9.30-5.00pm

One-day pre-conference training  in Compassion Focused Therapy with Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland, for people working in Community and Mental Health Services

£170 Standard Rate | £140 Early Bird  | £95 Students

Buckland Hall, Brecon Beacons, South Wales

Space on the training is limited to 40 participants

Those of us working in mental health services know, as well as anyone, that life can be tough. Most of us face periods in our personal lives when we feel overwhelmed by work, relationships, sickness, or we experience losing someone close. As mental health workers, we also spend most of our working lives as the constant witnesses of other people’s suffering.

And, as if these experiences aren’t difficult enough, we also all have a tricky brain to contend with: a brain and mind that, through poor evolutionary design (and evolutionary trade-offs), tends to keep us stuck in problematic loops of worry, rumination or self-criticism, which adds another whole layer of suffering on top.

Often it is hard to find the time to pause and reflect on ourselves, on our own problematic loops, and on what bearing this is having on our ability to help others. We plough on. And even if we are able to reflect, we don’t always know the best way to nurture ourselves towards more sustainable, fulfilling, and compassionate practice.

The emerging science and practice of Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT; Gilbert, 2009; 2010), with its roots in evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, and neuroscience, offers a useful framework for approaching these basic psychological challenges at each of the personal, professional, organisational, and community levels.

In this one day workshop, we will start with an understanding of what we all share (colleagues / clients / humanity) and therefore of what we are all up against. The reality is that we just find ourselves here, in the flow of life, with a ‘tricky’ brain, and we’re doing the best we can to deal with this suffering.

A lot of what happens in our minds is not our fault, but it is still up to us what we want to do about it. In the workshop, we will explore how our evolved minds can be orientated in certain ways depending on our social motives, and we will also consider the research that shows how orientating our minds towards compassion for self and others can bring a variety of positive mental and physical and health benefits.

We will then learn some techniques and practices to help us cultivate compassion in our personal and professional lives. The workshop will consider ways in which we can develop compassion for ourselves, facilitate our clients’ development of compassion, and can also help to create social contexts in which compassion may flourish. A combination of group discussion exercises, pair work, and experiential practice will be used.

About Charlie

Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and trainer who integrates different therapeutic approaches, in particular compassion-focused therapy (CFT). He provides psychological therapies for a CFT practice called Balanced Minds and also runs compassion training workshops for practitioners and the general public. Charlie is a clinical psychologist, researcher and trainer currently based at the University of Glasgow.

Charlie completed his clinical psychology training at the University of Oxford, and has delivered psychological therapies in a variety of NHS settings in London and the South East. In his private practice, he provides psychological assessments, formulations, and interventions that integrate different therapeutic approaches, in particular compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), but also drawing on other mindfulness-based and emotion-focused therapies.

Dr Heriot-Maitland’s academic and research interests mainly lie in the application of CFT in psychosis, and he has recently been awarded a Fellowship by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to forward the scientific knowledge this area.He is currently researching the social context of anomalous experiences and the application of Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) for people experiencing distress in relation to psychosis.

Feedback from our last pre-conference training event in October 2017

“I was blown away. It surpassed any expectations. It was so affirming, inspiring and helpful.”

“Succeeded in bringing together professionals, experts and everyday folk in a way where the reality of human experience was revealed, shared and honoured, and those who suffer were given tools that help.”

“The ideas from Dan’s eCPR have been very effective when connecting with my daughter and have really opened my heart and mind to hope and new ways of working with her”

“At the time I was in deep despondency …I was desperate to find a means to rescue myself from such a dark and painful place…On my return from the event, I emerged from this dark hole. Thank you for the gift.”

“There have been many moments of eureka and genuine transformation. All curated with kindness, humility, warmth, thoughtfulness. Even the wild foraged food felt as if we were being nurtured in the most ethical and sensitive way possible.”

“Inspirational, with presenters who have overcome great suffering and mental breakdown alongside psychiatrists who are pioneering more humane approaches to the mental health system.”

“This event has given me hope for psychiatric services in the future.”

“Amazing event. Loved the structure and flow of the programme. Great speakers and mix of delegates. Loved the feast. Loved the safe environment.”

“It’s been a rare opportunity to be among people with genuine compassion and depth of understanding and to feel so safe that it felt possible to take all my masks off. This is especially difficult for those of us who, by virtue of stigma as carers or sufferers, find it impossible to be open about our experiences.”

“I experienced healing from attending by hearing others stories and realising that what happened to my son is not only not unusual, but not down to anything I did or didn’t do. I will be forever grateful.”

“You have created a unique and invaluable contribution to the future of mental health. My daughter took her own life two years ago. I believe if either she or I had had access to the material and the diverse community you have put together, there could have been a very different outcome.”

“Exceptional. The fact people had travelled from far and wide shows the high regard the event was held in, and also the pressing need to change and the delivery of compassionate mental health services.”

“Above all people were able to release shame , guilt and silence around their stories and to find like minded community.”

“Such a blessing. An oasis. I felt privileged to be a part of it. Beautifully organised, to the last detail. The professional delivery of the event was outstanding and the supporting literature of excellent quality.”

“By having my family’s experience validated, we have been encouraged to continue to seek a more humane intervention for our daughter’s difficulties and a way forward for her.”

“Amazing. I arrived late in the middle of a workshop but felt immediately welcomed and accepted. It was extraordinary, given my social anxiety to feel like this.”

“The most amazing event I have ever witnessed. I loved how everyone was so open and honest, and how everyone was made to feel welcome and part of it.”

“Beautiful gathering where people were able to share stories in a safe environment – providing inspiration, empowerment, hope and caring, compassionate community.”

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