Compassion and wellbeing


Our research conducted within the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care around compassion and wellbeing is leading to changes in the way services are managed and delivered.

Our compassion and wellbeing researchers run well-attended international workshops and conferences and increasing numbers of clinicians are being trained in compassion-focused therapy, making it more available to services and patients. The research team has international collaborators with Compassion Research Centres being set up in Australia, the USA and Europe (namely Portugal and Italy). The team has over 300 publications on the theme of compassion, with international dissemination through the Compassionate Mind Foundation, conferences and training workshops.

Our projects

Frazzled Café

Exploring people’s experiences of attending open discussion groups about mental health and social isolation at the Frazzled Café. This qualitative research that captures personal experiences within the community was originated by the patron of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, Ruby Wax.

Compassion-focused therapy

We have a number of projects looking at compassion-focused therapy (CFT):

Complex mental health problems

Assessing the impact of compassion-focused therapy on an inpatient unit for women with complex mental health problems. This research was conducted on a new secure-ward for women with personality disorders.

Post-natal depression

Evaluating the treatment of post-natal depression with compassion-focused therapy. This is the first research to apply CFT and its underlying attachment theory to women with post-natal depression.

Bipolar disorder

Process-evaluation of compassion-focused therapy for adults with bipolar disorder. This study will co-produce a tailored version of CFT for adults with bipolar disorder. This will be the first research applying CFT to adults with bipolar disorder. We are collaborating with Dr June Gruber to collect pilot data assessing the long-term profile of heart rate variability (HRV) in bipolar patients and assessing how interventions such as CFT impact on physiological measures such as HRV.

Processes and mechanisms

Exploring the processes and mechanisms behind the practices of compassion-focused therapy. This programme of research will look in much greater depth at the personal experiences of CFT self-practices such as compassionate imagery and compassionate letter-writing.

Compassionate mind training

We also have projects looking at the impact of compassionate mind training (CMT):

CMT for business

Assessing the feasibility of introducing compassionate mind training to businesses and large organisations to improve employee wellbeing, creativity and retention. This programme of research is being conducted as part of a PhD being undertaken by Ms Jaskaran Basran.

CMT for schools

Exploring the impact of compassionate mind training on teacher and pupil wellbeing. This research is in collaboration with Dr Frances Maratos and assesses the impact on self-reported wellbeing and physiological indicators of wellbeing such as heart rate variability and blood pressure.

Our team

Compassion and wellbeing is a topic that is researched by: