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What is compassion?

For thousands of years, compassion has been seen as the antidote to suffering and harmfulness. Research has now revealed how our capacities for compassion evolved, how it works in our bodies and our brains, and when cultivated, is a source of courage and wisdom to address suffering.

The definition of compassion used by the Compassionate Mind Foundation is "...a sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it."

Compassionate courage lies in the willingness to see into the nature and causes of suffering - in ourselves, others and the human condition.

Welcome to the Compassionate Mind Foundation

The Compassionate Mind Foundation was founded as an international charity in 2006 by Professor Paul Gilbert and colleagues including Prof Deborah Lee, Dr Mary Welford, Dr Chris Irons, Dr Ken Goss, Dr Ian Lowens, Dr Chris Gillespie, Diane Woollands and Jean Gilbert. We believe that one of the greatest challenges facing humanity is how to stimulate compassionate ways of thinking and problem solving for the benefit of all.

The Compassionate Mind Foundation promotes an evolutionary and bio-psycho-social informed approach to compassion which now forms the basis of a psychotherapy (CFT) and Compassionate Mind Training.

The last 15 years have seen an expanding evidence base for a compassion focused approach to the alleviation of mental health difficulties and promoting wellbeing. It is now being used internationally in various settings including hospitals, prisons, schools and businesses.

Our Mission and Aim

To promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion via:

Liaising with those with specific interests in the scientific study of compassion and its underlying processes, and facilitate communication and interchange between them.

Supporting research and teaching of the evolution informed compassion focused approach to human difficulties.

Facilitating open discussion on how to further promote a compassionate focus in many domains of human activity.

Engaging in activities and raise funds to support the work and aims of the Foundation.

The CMF supports research and teaching of an evolution and contemplative informed compassion focused approach to human difficulties. We provide workshops, conferences, and a number of different resources for clinicians and individuals to support their work and personal practice, and facilitate the open discussion on how to promote compassionate motives and behaviours across all domains. The CMF supports dissemination of the flow of compassion whereby we are able to be compassionate to others, open to the compassion from others, and compassionate to ourselves.

Our Work

A guiding principle of the Compassionate Mind Foundation is that our human potentials for creativity, love, altruism, compassion, but also for selfishness, vengeance and cruelty are all linked to the way our brains have evolved to solve various challenges to survival.

Modern research is beginning to illuminate the genetic basis of these dispositions and the way our social relationships, from the cradle to the grave, shape our brains and value systems, and thus dispositions to create different patterns of activity in our brains. The more we understand these processes the more we can understand how different patterns in our minds are created. This knowledge allows us to stand back and explore ways to manage the potentials in our evolved brains’ such that we can advance certain dispositions and potentials over others.

The Compassionate Mind Foundation supports thousands of clinicians around the world to develop, practice and promote Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). In addition to delivering a number of workshops and training programmes, we provide clinicians with resources including training materials, handouts, practices and scales.

"May you be well.
May you be happy.
May you be free from suffering.
And may you bring these things into the world for others." -
Paul Gilbert