PG Cert Compassion Focused Therapy

Why choose this course?

  • This course will enable you to gain a university qualification that we believe will enrich your knowledge and skills. Compassion Focused Therapy is a rich integrative model rooted in evolutionary, neuro and psychological science models. There are also influences from Buddhist philosophy. The CFT approach pays particular attention to the key role of the therapeutic relationship and examines the skills and competencies required to enhance those skills in detail both in terms of the theory base as well as the skills base. 
  • You will receive training with experts in the field of Compassion Focused Therapy including Professor Paul Gilbert PhD FBPs OBE. Paul will be delivering the three day workshop that begin the course and will be delivering live presentations at various points throughout the course.
  • You will receive weekly supervision from experts in the field of Compassion Focused Therapy.
    • You will have access to a rich source of learning materials via our online course resources, as well as weekly live online contact.
    • You will attend two five day intensive training blocks at the University of Derby.
    • The course is delivered via blended learning which allows flexibility and reducing the need to travel.

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Fact file

Start date: September

Course length: part time: one year; blended learning 

Campus: Kedleston Road site, Derby Campus

College: College of Health and Social Care:

About this course

Compassion focused therapy is a psychological approach that was originally developed to help people with high shame and self-criticism, and this course will introduce you to the basic ideas and interventions that are used. This course is for you if you are in a mental health profession, for example psychiatry, psychology, nursing or occupational therapy and you are trained to form and develop psychotherapeutic relationships. Also, if you have basic counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy skills and you would like to develop your skills when working with clients who experience shame and self-criticism thoughts, then this course is for you.

By studying this course, you will develop your clinical and theoretical knowledge in compassion focused therapy. You'll have the opportunity to network with like minded, dynamic individuals and be taught by leading academics and professionals in your field of expertise. There is also the opportunity for you to experience expert clinical and academic supervision to develop your practical skills and ensure you can provide proficient therapy to your future clients.

Throughout this course you will learn to focus on the forms and functions of shame and self-criticism and how to treat them by developing self and other directed compassion. Compassion focused therapy aims to develop care and affiliative-focused motivation, attention, emotion behaviour and thinking in clients, and the key skills that are used include Socratic questioning, guided discovery behaviour experiments and multiple chair work. You will also look at the use of compassion focused imagery during this course, which includes building the compassionate self and using the sense of a compassionate self to engage with areas of personal difficulty.

You will study this course for 36 weeks based on studying for one day a week. You will learn through a combination of e-learning, personal study, workshops and case provision where you will need to identify suitable clients to work with. For your supervision sessions, you will be video recorded, which is a fundamental part of this course and will help to transfer you from a learning environment into practice and help to refine compassion focused practice.

What you will cover

You’ll study these modules:

Compassion Focused Therapy 1

Single module worth 20 credits.

During this module you’ll cover theories of compassion including drive, safeness and threat. You’ll also explore different types of shame and how shame is linked to selfcriticism, threat and safety behaviours. You’ll address the therapeutic relationship and micro skills, formulating problems in terms of threat and safety strategies. We’ll also introduce you to the basic model: the nature of compassion as an antidote to shame and self-attacking.

Compassion Focused Therapy 2

Double module worth 40 credits.

This module will take your learning to an advanced level, as you’ll develop your advanced therapeutic relationship and micro skills. You’ll cover theories of compassion and shame and psycho physiology, and consider compassion therapy under the context of complex clients. You’ll develop your understanding of the use of imagery, compassionate reframing and compassionate letter writing.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need a postgraduate or an equivalent qualification in a psychological health related profession such as mental health nursing, clinical psychology, therapeutic counselling. You will need to be accredited (or working towards) as a therapist. You will need to have access to clients to be able to provide one-to-one or group compassion focused therapy.

How to apply

UK/EU students

Fees and finance

UK/EU students

The course consists of two modules:

  • Compassion Focused Therapy 1 module: £1,000
  • Compassion Focused Therapy 2 module: £2,000

The cost includes teaching and clinical supervision.

*These fees apply if you're starting this course between September 2013 and August 2014. We recommend you check fee details with us though, as they can change. Costs can increase each year.

How you will learn

How you're assessed

You will be assessed by a portfolio, written case study and assessment of practice.

Careers and employability

Generally people who take this course are already employed as therapists within organisations such as NHS or third sector organisations or are self-employed therapists. Developing knowledge and skills in CFT is seen as a valuable addition to their practice. 

Where will I study?

Kedleston Road site, Derby Campus