Taught course

Compassion Focused Therapy

University of Birmingham · School of Psychology

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Entry requirements

The programme is for suitably qualified professionals with a minimum of two year's experience of providing psychological therapies, including one-to-one or group therapy. Students will hold a qualification in one of the following core professions:

  • Clinical, Counselling, Educational, Health or Forensic Psychology and hold HCPC registration as a practitioner Psychologist.
  • Registered Nurse – Mental Health (RMN) or Learning Disability.
  • Psychiatry or General Practitioner, MBChB or MBBS, and usually postgraduate training with membership of MRCGP, MRCP or MRC Psych.
  • Occupational Therapy. BSc Hons Occupational Therapy; MSc Occupational Therapy or Dip C.O.T. and HCPC registered.
  • Counselling, accredited with the BACP, COSCA or FDAP (NCAC), or registered member CPC.
  • Social Work. CQSW, DipSW or BA/BSc Hons Social Work and HCPC registered.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist who hold full therapist accreditation with the BABCP.
  • Art Therapists HCPC registered.
  • Psychotherapy/Psychotherapeutic Counselling with UKCP registration.

Months of entry


Course content

CFT is a “third wave” therapeutic approach which builds upon developmental, social and evolutionary psychology and neuroscience.

CFT is designed to help clinicians work with people who experience high levels of shame and self-criticism, or who find compassion and receiving care from others (including their therapist) difficult to manage. These factors have been associated with poor therapeutic outcome in existing therapies.

CFT is an integrative approach, utilizing the wisdom of both Western and Eastern approaches to helping people change. CFT argues that we can be taught to train our minds (Compassionate Mind Training) to help us to experience compassion, develop various aspects of compassion for ourselves and others, improve our abilities to self-sooth and affiliate with others, and to foster the courage and wisdom we need to cope with difficult life events, memories or emotions (Gilbert, 2009, 2010 Gilbert & Irons, 2005).

There is emerging evidence that teaching people to develop self-compassion can significantly reduce shame and self-criticism and lead to improvements in mental and physical health conditions.

This programme is the world’s first Postgraduate Diploma course in CFT.

The course will provide students with the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding in:

  • The CFT model and the evidence base that underpins it
  • CFT approach to formulation and how to collaboratively develop formulations
  • Micro skills required to practice CFT
  • Key therapeutic interventions used by CFT therapists. These include: Affect recognition and management skills, mindfulness, developing the soothing system, imagery and two chair work, compassionate letter writing and compassionate thought balancing.
  • Using CFT to understand and address difficulties within therapeutic relationships
  • How CFT can be used to treat a range of clinical populations, age groups and in group and individual treatment settings

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGDip
    part time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details