University teaches people to be their own best friend

26 October 2016

How to turn that constant critic in the back of your mind into your own best friend is the theme of a public lecture at the University of Derby’s new Chesterfield site on November 30.

Wendy Wood, Deputy Head of Department (Therapeutic Practice) Head of Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Derby, will describe a style of psychotherapy created at the University which has won world-wide acclaim by helping to improve people’s emotional and physiological wellbeing.

‘Be your own best friend: how to be compassionate to yourself’ explores the work of Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, Visiting Professor of Compassion, Psychology and Healthcare, who has developed his approach through research over the past 30 years and now lectures across the globe on Compassion Focused Therapy.

Wendy said that self-criticism can stop people from reaching their full potential and can make life unnecessarily difficult.

“One of the central ideas is that when you have a child you want to do the best for them – you praise them when they’ve done well and look after them when they make a mistake,” said Wendy, who trains therapists at the University.

Chesterfield at an angle

“If you’ve got a toddler learning to walk, when they fall over your instinct is to want to pick them up and carry them, but you also know if you do they’ll never learn. You have to create a balance between helping them to make their own way in the world and having a secure base to come back to, someone who loves them when things go wrong.

“What happens as an adult is that we tend develop our own self-critic who is quite horrible to us and nags us. It’s about learning to be that person you needed when you were younger.

“Many therapies try to achieve this by teaching the logic of thinking differently – but most people understand that anyway: it is dealing with the difficult feelings which makes a real difference.

“The theories and practices behind this approach are beginning to be applied not just to therapy but to a wider view of how we reduce suffering in our lives.”

Find out more about studying Counselling at the University of Derby.