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Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief – 5 Powerful Ways CFT Can Help

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picture of person grieving before receiving the benefit of compassion focused therapy for grief

Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief

Grief is a normal part of life, but getting through it isn’t the easiest process and for many people may be the hardest thing they ever have to deal with in life. This is where compassion focused therapy for grief can help.

Compassion focused therapy for grief will teach you how to be on your own side in a compassionate manner as you learn to live with loss and keep living the best (not perfect) life you can.

By now, most people have heard of the stages of grief. There is a misconception that these steps need to be followed in linear order. However, there is nothing linear about grief. Grief can fill you with all sorts of emotions (or none) as well as physical sensations as the body, mind and heart try to adjust.

Although the difficult emotions cannot be taken away, they can learn to be experienced compassionately and this is exactly why I recommend learning tools using compassion focused therapy for grief.

When you are going through a season of grief, it is challenging and heartbreaking. You want to move through it in the best way possible, but finding a way forward isn’t always the easiest task and as mentioned can be the hardest thing you will ever have to do.

Thankfully, there are many therapeutic methods out there that can help you work through your grief in a way that is beneficial and provides long-lasting change for your life and as a therapist I have found that compassion focused therapy for grief can be a particularly helpful approach whether you work with a therapist or not.

What Is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)?

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic method that was created to help people who are experiencing shame and self-criticism. We have a tendency to be more empathetic and kind towards others than we do ourselves. Humans don’t often use these same values towards ourselves as we do others. And when we are grieving, this is what we need the most.

Kindness from others and kindness from self can be very comforting and the good news here is that like any other skill, self-compassion can be learned and practiced.

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is based on the ways that humans live, struggle and thrive. It looks at a cycle of emotional regulation that we use to manage emotions. Known as the three circles, these systems are below:

  • Threat (or Alarm) System,
  • Drive (or Achievement / Reward) System
  • Soothing (or Caring )System

How Can Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief Help?

1. Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief Helps You To Tolerate The Pain Of Grief

Compassion focused therapy (CFT) helps you to look at grief differently than just moving through the stages of it. It teaches you to accept that you are going through a painful period in your life and to show compassion and kindness towards yourself (and give yourself permission to receive it from others).

To understand that there are going to be the good and bad days and even worse days. We often think there needs to be a timeline of when we need to be over the grief. But Compassion focused therapy for grief teaches you to look at grief as a process of kindness and change, not something that needs to be completed by a deadline.

2. Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief Doesn’t Have Such A Focus On The Past

Yes, your grief is what brings you to therapy. But, unlike other therapeutic methods, it doesn’t keep you focused on the past. Instead, the focus with Compassion focused therapy (CFT) and compassion focused therapy for grief is to look at your current feelings and situation and find a way forward slowly and sustainably and kindly. In a CFT session, your past is only included if it is relevant to help you heal.

3. Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief Works By Re-Wiring Your Brain (And Heart)

When we are in a period of grief, we often become stuck in a negative cycle. It’s a rollercoaster ride and no one expects it not to be. But, it doesn’t have to always be like this.

Compassion focused therapy for grief (CFT for grief) helps by teaching you how to counteract the negative (and unhelpful / unsupportive) thoughts and patterns you have towards yourself. Instead of focusing on the negatives of this experience it helps you to see things in a completely different light – in a supportive and kind light.

4. Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief Helps You See Grief As A New Transition

Grief is a transitional period for everyone. It’s a transition of having something or someone or some place that was once a huge part of your life missing or change. It’s the transition between the past and future that seems hard to grasp or close the gap.

Compassion focused therapy for grief (CFT for grief) helps you to understand that this is a transitional period of your life –  not a final destination. It isn’t a place that you will remain in forever, but a stone to step on from one ending to a new beginning. Sometimes, that is all the hope you need to move forward.

5. You Can Participate In Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) Anywhere

A final reason why Compassion Focused Therapy For Grief is so helpful is that you can do it right from your home. Sometimes, being in the comfort of your own space that you are familiar with can help you process and work through your emotions easier and take less energy.

It can be uncomfortable going to an office, but online compassion focused therapy for grief (Online CFT) can really help you move through this period.

Grief is hard to feel and this is absolutely normal. And it’s not easy to get through. And this is absolutely normal too. But working with a trained therapist who specializes in Compassion focused therapy for grief can help you learn to view yourself as someone who is worthy of empathy and compassion AND help you learn the tools of self compassion to help yourself today, not tomorrow!

This isn’t to say that the suffering isn’t very very real. One of my favorite quotes is of Helen Keller who said, “The world is full of suffering AND the overcoming of suffering”. Please hang in there and know that help and hope are available when you are ready.

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Hawaii and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK, with advanced specialist training in Compassion Focused Therapy, if you are grieving and Compassion Focused Therapy for Grief sounds like it may be of help to you, please feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London clinic to set up an Online CFT Test Drive. Click to learn more about Compassion Focused Therapy.


CBT Test Drive

The right approach, tools and fit is a game changer. For this reason, I offer an Initial Test Drive session to see if working together could be a great fit for you. Each Test Drive lasts between 45-60 minutes and takes place within my Video Consulting Room. Based on the latest evidence, science, and my experience, I will aim to make concrete suggestions as to what I think can be most helpful for you.