Imagining one's compassionate self and coping with life difficulties
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractThere is increasing evidence that when people focus on being a certain kind of person, for example optimistic, this changes how they engage with life difficulties. We explored individuals’ experiences in thinking about a small life difficulty before and then after being guided through a compassionate self exercise. During a compassion focused therapy workshop (2016), 95 participants were guided through a Compassionate Mind Training practice that enables them to compare and contrast thinking about a life difficulty from a natural position and then a compassionate self mental state. Following the exercises, individuals completed a short evaluation form exploring the impact of switching to a compassionate mental state when thinking about the life difficulty. All 95 participants rated switching to a compassionate self as increasing their abilities to be empathic to their difficulty, generate more insight into their difficulty, feel better able to cope and feel encouraged about the future. Results suggest guiding people to generate a compassionate sense of self is experienced as having a number of helpful outcomes. It is these outcomes generated by the compassionate self that may be useful to people.
CitationGilbert, P., and Basran, J. (2018) ‘Imagining One’s Compassionate Self and Coping with Life Difficulties’. EC Psychology and Psychiatry, 7(12), pp. 971-978. DOI:
PublisherECronicon Open Access.
JournalEC Psychology and Psychiatry.
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- Creative Commons