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Compassion Focused Therapy Chair-work

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March 17, 2022
March 18, 2022


Registration for this workshop is from 09.00.

We will host this workshop via Zoom Meetings, and will send all relevant joining instructions a week before the workshop.

The workshop is predominantly skills-based and experiential and will include live observations, practical exercises, theoretical discussion and group reflection, we therefore recommend that the session is attended live. Whilst the workshop is open to people new to CFT, participants will benefit from some prior knowledge of the therapy.

This workshop will be 14 hours towards your CPD, and you will receive a certificate of attendance shortly after the workshop via email.


This workshop is priced at a flat rate of £195. For those in difficult financial circumstances, who may struggle to afford this price, please contact


Day One - 09:30 - 17:00

Day Two - 09:00 - 16:30

Compassion Focused Therapy Chair-work

About this Course

'Chair-work’ refers to a group of experiential psychotherapeutic techniques that incorporate chairs, the positioning of chairs and the client’s movement between them. Chair-work has a rich history in psychotherapy and has a key role in Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT). Research has found chair-work to be an effective, experiential intervention that increases emotional processing and activation; facilitates differentiation, dialogue and integration between internal ‘parts’ or ‘selves’; allows clients to gain a metacognitive stance; whilst also being memorably ‘enactive’ in nature. CFT chair-work interventions include the enactment of self-critical dialogues between two chairs (the critical and criticised ‘selves’) before introducing and utilizing the ‘compassionate self’ in a third chair. Another core CFT chair-work intervention involves embodying various threat emotions, in separate chairs, before relating to them with compassion.

The workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to practice key CFT chair-work interventions, as well as two-chair interventions to facilitate the flow of compassion between self-to-other, other-to-self and self-to-self. Alternate and novel applications of CFT chair-work will be introduced and practiced, including how to work with blocks to compassion using chair-work and how to address an internalized abusive ‘other’ using chairs. Each CFT chair-work intervention will be modelled by the facilitators and broken down into specific steps to aid practical application.

Learning Objectives

-Understand the underpinning principles and theoretical rationale for chair-work in CFT

-Practice core CFT chair-work interventions including self-critic and ‘multiple-selves’ interventions

-Undertake ‘two-chair’ interventions to introduce and cultivate the flows of compassion

-Work with blocks, fears and resistances to compassion using chair-work

-Practice novel applications of chair-work in CFT

-Integrate client feedback from recent research into their CFT chair-work and reflect on the role of the therapeutic relationship

-Learn how to adapt CFT chair-work for specific client populations and to address client reservations and blocks to chair-work

-Experience chair-work from the ‘inside-out’ by working with their own difficulties

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Location Details

Online (via zoom)

This course is for

Healthcare Professionals
Those working within the healthcare profession
Mental Healthcare Practitioners
Psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, nurses, psychiatrists and other mental health professions
Those who have completed introductory trainings
Introductory trainings refer to courses of 2 or 3 days provided by the Compassionate Mind Foundation or if led by a recognised CFT trainer

Useful Reading

Bell, T. (2022) Compassion Focused Therapy chairwork. In Gilbert, P. & Simos, G. (eds) Compassion Focused Therapy: Clinical Practice and Applications. Routledge.

Bell, T., Montague, J., Elander, J, & Gilbert, P. (2021). Multiple-emotions, multiple-selves: chairwork in compassion focused therapy. The Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, 14, E22.

Bell, T., Montague, J., Elander, J. & Gilbert, P. (2020) “A definite feel‐it moment”: Embodiment, externalisation and emotion during chair‐work in compassion‐focused therapy. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research, 20(1), 143-153.

Bell, T., Montague, J., Elander, J., & Gilbert, P. (2020). “Suddenly you are King Solomon”: Multiplicity, transformation and integration in compassion focused therapy chairwork. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 1-20

Kellogg, S. (2014) Transformational Chairwork: Using Psychotherapeutic Dialogues in Clinical Practice. Rowman & Littlefield.

Kirby, J.N. (2016) Compassion interventions: The programmes, the evidence, and implications for research and practice. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice 90 (3)

Pugh, M. (2019) Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork. Distinctive Features. Routledge.

Pugh, M., Bell, T., & Dixon, A. (2021) Delivering tele-chairwork: A qualitative survey of expert therapists. Psychotherapy Research, 31(7), 843-858.

Pugh, M. & Bell, T. (2020). Process-based chairwork: Applications and innovations in thetime of COVID-19. European Journal of Counselling Theory, Research andPractise, 4, 1-8.

Pugh, M., Bell, T., Waller, G., & Petrova, E. (2021) Attitudes and applications of chairwork amongst CBT therapists: A preliminary surveyThe Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 14, E21. 

Meet your instructor(s)

Alison Dixon

Alison Dixon

Senior Psychological Therapist

Alison is a senior psychological therapist working with clients with complex difficulties within the NHS., and has trained in multiple modalities. She specializes in CFT, and has published research in CFT and regularly runs CFT and mindfulness groups. Alison is a co-founder of Chairwork - an international provider of chairwork-related training and supervision

Tobyn Bell

Tobyn Bell


Tobyn is a Compassion Focused Therapy psychotherapist and part of the training committee for the Compassionate Mind Foundation. He is the co-author of the book Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-Practice/Self Reflection Workbook for Therapists. Tobyn regularly provides national and international training on compassion and chairwork and conducts research in these areas. He is a co-founder of Chairwork - an international provider of chairwork-related training and supervision- and works as a lecturer and operational lead at the University of Manchester.


My employer will be paying for this course. Can you arrange for an invoice?

Yes, this is no problem at all. You can download the booking form at the bottom of the 'Prices' section.

What if I am unable to attend?

If you find you are unable to attend this course, please email our admin team via as soon as possible. You will be given the option to transfer to another course (within 12 months). Refunds are available if cancellation occurs no less than one month before the start of the course, although we will consider exceptional circumstances.

Will I get a certificate of attendance?

Yes, all delegates will received a certificate of attendance upon completion of the course.


If you wish to book via invoice, please click here to download our workshop booking form.

Terms and conditions

All places booked for our event, must be paid for prior to attending the event unless pre-agreed with management. Please note that we cannot confirm your place until we have received payment.
Should you be unable to attend the event, please contact our admin team as soon as possible via Refunds, less the Eventbrite administration fee, will be made if cancellations are received in writing up to one month before the event. Any cancellations received after this time will not be eligible for a refund, although we will consider exceptional circumstances.  While refunds for failure to attend cannot be made, you can transfer your event fee to a future event that will take place within 12 months of your booking without an additional penalty.
Please note that information about the event and venue are subject to change and cancellation. Occasionally, an event may have to be cancelled or postponed.  We will endeavour to inform you of any changes and cancellations as soon as possible via email. We cannot take responsibility for any resulting costs you may incur for travel, accommodation, any other related goods or service or other compensation should an event cancellation occur.
For all face-to-face events, lunch provided at the event will be vegetarian and will include eggs, but no meat or fish (though vegan options will also be made available). However, please advise us of any dietary requirements in the notes section whilst booking online and we will do our best to accommodate your request.