The Compassionate Mind Foundation was founded as an international charity in 2006 by Professor Paul Gilbert and colleagues including Drs Deborah Lee, Mary Welford, Chris Irons, Ken Goss, Ian Lowens, Chris Gillespie, Mrs Diane Woollands, Mrs Jean Gilbert and other supporters.

In 2020 Prof Paul Gilbert developed a 15 part lecture series exploring how compassion can help us during the current COVID19 crisis. It's free, and can be accessed here.

The Compassionate Mind Foundation promotes an evolution and neuroscience informed approach to compassion which now forms the basis of a psychotherapy (Compassion Focused Therapy) and Compassionate Mind Training. The last 10 years have seen an expanding evidence base for both the therapy and Compassionate Mind Training for the alleviation of mental health difficulties and promoting wellbeing. It is now being used internationally in hospitals, prisons, schools and businesses. One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is how to stimulate compassion ways of thinking and problem solving for the benefit of all.


Our Mission & 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. 


What is compassion?


When people hear the word compassion, they tend to think of kindness. But scientific study has found the core of compassion to be courage.

A standard definition of compassion is, "a sensitivity to suffering in self and others with a commitment to try to alleviate and prevent it."

The courage to be compassionate lies in the willingness to see into the nature and causes of suffering - be that in ourselves, in others and the human condition. The challenge is to acquire the wisdom we need to address the causes of suffering in ourselves and others.


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.


If you would like further information about compassion for individuals, the Compassionate Wellbeing organisation runs public workshops designed to introduce some of the theories and techniques developed by leading figures in the field of compassion research and practise. These workshops aim to provide a relaxed and supportive atmosphere in which you can learn how to utilise the benefits of compassionate for yourself and others. For more information visit the Compassionate Wellbeing website. If you feel Compassion Focused Therapy would be useful to you, your local GP can signpost you to CFT counsellors in your area, or you may find it useful to consult this CFT directory. Please note, the CMF is not a professional accrediting body, and cannot monitor or endorse the practice of the (self-described) CFT-interested therapists listed on this website. A listing on this directory in no way equates to endorsement or recommendation for clinical services. 


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.