Workshop 3: CFT and Anxiety

October 10, 2022
Edinburgh Royal College of Physicians and Online

Timings and Registration

The workshop will start at 9.30 and finish at 16.30.

To book this workshop, please scroll down to the bottom of our main conference page, and select the workshop option.

About this Course

Anxiety disorders are some of the most prevalent problems in the world, and our pandemic-era reality has intensified these problems, immensely. How can we best meet the challenge of a traumatized global community struggling with the tyranny and complexity of our “always-on, 24/7, better-safe-than-sorry” threat detection system? Compassion Focused Therapy provides us a clear path to overcoming anxiety, and a step-by-step program for learning to live with greater courage and ease. Dr. Dennis Tirch (author of The Compassionate Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety) and Dr. Laura Silberstein Tirch (author of How to Be Nice To Yourself) will guide you through a deeply experiential, informative and user-friendly workshop. Over the course of this training you will learn everything you need to begin integrating CFT for Anxiety into your practice. Techniques such as Compassion Focused Exposure and Response Prevention, Compassion Focused Imagery for Anxiety and Compassionate Flexibility Training will be explored in depth. Role-play exercises, intimate didactic work, and immersive guided meditations will all be a part of this retreat-like workshop. All of these methods can help liberate your clients from anxiety, and they also can help you better deal with the stress of working with human suffering, unlocking your own compassionate resilience. This workshop is suitable for practitioners at all levels of experience, and a prior knowledge of CFT theory and practice is not required. Materials for further practice, such as recordings of meditations, worksheets and downloadable content will all be provided so that this workshop can be more than a short-lived training experience, and can serve as a foundation for your further Compassion Focused practice in dealing with anxiety, worry and fear, for your clients and yourselves. To learn more about the workshop facilitators, please visit

Key Learning  Points

1. Our evolved compassion motive, with its emotions and competencies, can help us to regulate our threat system and overcome problems with anxiety.

2. Cultivating compassion can take place in a systematic and accessible way, and this can lead to greater courage and psychological flexibility.

3. Exposure and facing our fears need not be just white knuckling our way through distress. Mindfulness and compassion training can empower us as we face the things that scare us, and allow us freedom from anxiety, worry and fear.

Recommended Reading & Resources

Tirch, D.(2012). The compassionate-mind guide to overcoming anxiety: Usingcompassion-focused therapy to calm worry, panic, and fear. London:Constable and Robinson.

Silberstein,L. (2019). How to Be Nice to Yourself: APractical Guide to Self-Compassion. Emeryville, CA: Calisto Media.

Brown, S. L., & Brown, R. M. (2017).Compassionate neurobiology and health. In, Seppälä, E.M., Simon-Thomas, E., Brown, S.L., Worline, M.C.,Cameron, L & Doty, J. R. (Eds). TheOxford Handbook of Compassion Science.(p.159-1729-420). New York: Oxford University Press.

Meet your instructor(s)

Dr Dennis Tirch

Dr. Tirch is the FoundingDirector of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy. He is an author of 6books, and numerous chapters and peer reviewed articles on mindfulness,acceptance and compassion in psychotherapy. His books include Experiencing ACTfrom the Inside Out, a self-practice/self-reflection workbook for therapists,and The Compassionate Mind Guide To Overcoming Anxiety, the firstevidence-based self-help book to apply the science of compassion to thetreatment of anxiety. With Dr. Laura Silberstein-Tirch and others, Dr. Tirch iscurrently developing a research protocol involving behavioral science and CFTfor treating anxiety, worry and fear-based difficulties through compassionatecourage cultivation.

Dr. Tirchserves as, Past President of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science(ACBS), President of The Compassionate Mind Foundation USA, Associate ClinicalProfessor at The Icahn College of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Fellowof ACBS, Founding President Emeritus of The New York City Chapter ACBS, Fellow& Certified Consultant & Trainer for The Academy of CognitiveBehavioral Therapy, Fellow and Past-President of The New York City CBT Association.Dr. Tirch’s work has been covered by numerous media outlets, including; TheWall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New YorkPost, NPR, WIRED, and O Magazine.

Dr. Tirch regularly conductstraining workshops and courses globally, live and online, and has served as aninvited speaker for many organizations, such as Columbia University, TheUniversity of New South Wales, The University of Hong Kong, The NYC-CBTAssociation, ABCT, ACBS, New York Univeristy, Cornell University, and the KagyuSamye Ling Buddhist monastery, and The Institute for Meditation andPsychotherapy.

Inaddition to his work in clinical psychology, Dr. Tirch has based his life uponmeditative and contemplative disciplines for over 40 years. Dr. Tirch has takenDharma Holder vows in Soto and Rinzai lines, with The Zen Garland Order;Sanjujo Kai vows in Tendai Shu Buddhism; serves as an Ambassador for The Ram DassFellowship; and is a long time practitioner in the J.G. Bennett Line of theGurdjieff Work, with Robert Fripp and The Guitar Circle community. Dr. Tirch’swork in this area can be found in his book Buddhist Psychology and CBT: A Clinician’sGuide with LauraSilberstein and Russell Kolts, as well as in private instruction. Dr. Tirch isinvolved in Bhakti Yoga and Kirtan practice, blending American traditional,guitar based, country-blues music with Kirtan and mantra musical forms ofmeditation.

Prior to founding The Center, Dr.Tirch collaborated with leading CBT therapist, Dr. Robert Leahy, at TheAmerican Institute for Cognitive Therapy for 12 years, serving as AssociateDirector of The Institute. Dr. Tirch has worked closely with CFT Founder, Dr.Paul Gilbert, in the development of compassion focused approaches for anxiety.

Dr. Tirch has benefited byparticipating in numerous trainings with many mentors, experts, friends andcolleagues such as Paul Gilbert, Robert Leahy, Kelly Wilson, Steven C. Hayes, RobertFripp, Robyn Walser and Zindel Segal. Dr. Tirch is a founding participant inthe ACT peer consultation group for New York City and Environs (ACTNYCE).

Dr. Tirch is a New York Statelicensed clinical psychologist who has served as an Assistant ClinicalProfessor at Weill-Cornell Medical College, and as an Adjunct AssociateProfessor at Albert Einstein Medical School.

Dr. Tirch received his PhD fromFairleigh Dickinson University.

Dr Laura Silberstein-Tirch

Laura Silberstein-Tirch, the Director of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy. She is a New Yorkand New Jersey state licensed psychologist who specializes in evidence basedtherapies for adults and adolescents. In addition to her work at The Center,Dr. Silberstein-Tirch serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor consultant at atthe Ferkauf School of Psychology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine ofYeshiva University, and has served as a consultant to Memorial Sloan KetteringHospital. Dr. Silberstein-Tirch is the President Elect of The Greater New YorkCity Chapter of The Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) and thePresident Elect of The Compassion Focused SIG of ACBS.

Dr. Silberstein-Tirch hasspecialized in working with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, trauma,insomnia, impulse control difficulties and emotion regulation problems.

Dr. Silberstein-Tirch iscommitted to an approach to evidence based psychotherapy grounded incompassion, mindfulness, and psychological flexibility. She has advancedtraining and experience in CFT, ACT, CBT and DBT. Dr. Silberstein-Tirch hasworked with a range of trainers including Steven Hayes, Robert Leahy, KellyWilson, Paul Gilbert, and Marsha Linehan. She is a founding member and boardmember at large of the Greater New York Chapter of The Association forContextual Behavioral Science.

Dr. Silberstein-Tirch receivedher doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School ofPsychology at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Yeshiva University in NewYork. For two years, she served as an extern clinician at the AmericanInstitute for Cognitive Therapy, in Manhattan. Dr. Silberstein-Tirch’spre-doctoral internship involved delivering CBT and DBT services in bothinpatient and outpatient settings at Wyoming State Hospital. Additionally, Dr.Silberstein-Tirch completed a two year Postdoctoral Fellowship in CognitiveBehavioral Therapy at the Cognitive Behavioral Institute of Albuquerque, NewMexico.

Dr.Silberstein-Tirch is the co-author of the books, Buddhist Psychology and Cognitive BehavioralTherapy, A Clinician’s GuideThe ACT Practitioner’s Guide to The Science ofCompassion and ExperiencingAcceptance and Commitment Therapy from The Inside Out.

Dr. Silberstein-Tirch’s researchon the relationships between mindfulness, psychological flexibility andemotional schemas has been presented at several national internationalscientific conferences and published in the International Journal of CognitiveTherapy. This research was undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Robert Leahyand Dr. Dennis Tirch, as a part of the research program at The AmericanInstitute for Cognitive Therapy, which examines the fundamentals of EmotionalSchema Theory. Dr. Silberstein-Tirch regularly delivers presentations in the NewYork area and internationally.