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Compassion Focused Therapy for Pain Management

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July 30, 2021
July 30, 2021

Timings and Registration

Registration is from 9am, and the workshop will run from 9.30am-5pm BST.

This workshop will be 8 hours towards your CPD, and you will receive an certificate of attendance shortly after the workshop. For those who are unable to attend all of the live broadcast, this workshop will be recorded, and recordings will be available for up to one month after the live broadcast for you to watch in your own time. We will host this workshop via Zoom Meetings, and will send all relevant joining instructions a week before the workshop.

This workshop is priced at a flat rate of £99. For those in difficult financial circumstances, who may struggle to afford this price, please contact

Compassion Focused Therapy for Pain Management

About This Course

Chronic Pain is pain that persists for longer than 3 months and it is surprisingly common worldwide, with up to 8 million people being effected in the UK. Current medical treatment is not curative and is mostly based upon opioid medication that causes a long list of significant side effects. Indeed, the current opioid debate suggests that opioids may actually be contributing to the persistence of long term pain rather than relieving it.

Normal psychological reactions to living with long term pain include fear of the condition getting worse or the person being unable to cope with it, frustration at the limits it can place on people’s lives and depression, in response to fewer opportunities to engage in valued activities. Whilst these typical reactions are normal, this pain-related distress can feed into the problem and make pain even more difficult to cope with, further increasing suffering.

Psychological approaches to Pain Management have been well-established for over 50 years and there is strong evidence that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is effective in treating pain and pain-related distress. The main CBT model of pain is the “fear-avoidance model” (Vlayen et al 2012) and this is the basis of currently recommended combined physiotherapy and psychological treatment, ideally delivered in a group setting as Pain Management Programme (PMP).

The CBT-based fear avoidance approach focuses upon stress-related reactions to pain, involving “threat” system responses similar to the red circle of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). Cognitive models fail to address the very common problem of “striving” or “boom and bust approach to activity” that occurs when people tend to make the most of a good day but this serves only to exacerbate their pain, leading to “flare-ups’ caused by over-activity.

This is the main new development that CFT can bring to pain management, helping people to understand their “striving” reaction to chronic pain, which involves the “drive” reaction or blue circle of CFT.

CFT helps people to understand this urge to engage in over-activity with unintended consequences, CFT encourages them to develop soothing rhythm breathing and wiser, more compassionate coping strategies, encouraging them to believe that they deserve to be happy and free from suffering.

Ultimately, the CFT approach to pain management helps people to formulate the origins of their own self-critical thoughts and striving behaviours, allowing them to make better choices about how they want to live their lives, to regain their confidence and feel proud of themselves again. Whilst individual goals will differ, most people are keen to have a life that is worth living again even though pain is likely to still be there in the background.

Outline of the day:

- Chronic pain, current prevalence and impact upon individual and society

- Fear-avoidance model of pain (threat-focused)

- 3 circles model of chronic pain, understanding both threat and striving as “boom and bust” exacerbating factors

- Opportunities to formulate real cases in breakout rooms

- CFT approach to pain management rehabilitation, how do we move from threat-based stress and drive-based striving into the green zone?

- CFT for Pain group: 8 weeks of content & summary outcomes (n=99)

- Multiple selves as barriers to effective pain management, unintended consequences of self-critical thoughts driving over-activity

- Opportunities to practice compassion guided techniques

- Are virtual groups even better than face to face?

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Online (via Zoom)

This course is for

Mental Healthcare Practitioners
Psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, nurses, psychiatrists and other mental health professions
Healthcare Professionals
Those working within the healthcare profession

Recommended Reading

Armitage, L & Malpus Z (2019) Compassion Focused Therapy for Strivers in Pain: Guest Editorial in Pain and Rehabilitation Journal of Pain Physiotherapy Association: Issue 47, p6-11

Chapin, H. L., Darnall, B. D., Seppala, E. M., Doty, J. R., Hah, J. M., & Mackey, S. C. (2014). Pilot study of a compassion meditation intervention in chronic pain. Journal of Compassionate Health Care, 1(1), 1-12.

Costa, J., & Pinto‐Gouveia, J. (2013). Experiential avoidance and self‐compassion in chronic pain. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(8), 1578-1591.

Gooding, H., Stedmon, J., & Crix, D. (2020). ‘All these things don’t take the pain away but they do help you to accept it’: Making the case for compassion-focused therapy in the management of persistent pain. British Journal of Pain, 14(1): 31-41.

Jepegnanam, C., Bull, E., Bansal, S., McCarthy, D., Booth, M., Purser, E., Makaka, T., Shapley, G., Cooper, J., Probert, J. and Malpus, Z. (2020) The role of the psychologist in the inpatient pain service: development and initial outcomes. British Journal of Pain, p.2049463720926212.

Malpus, Z. (2019). Pain as a biopsychosocial experience. In Abd-Elsayed, A (ed) Pain: A Review Guide (pp. 345-348). Cham, Switzerland: Springer; pp.345-348

Maratos, F. A., & Sheffield, D. (2020) Brief Compassion-Focused Imagery Dampens Physiological Pain Responses. Mindfulness, 11(12), 2730-2740.

Parry, S. & Malpus, Z. (2017) Reconnecting the mind and body: A pilot study of developing compassion for persistent pain Patient Experience Journal 4(1):1-2017

Penlington, C. (2019). Exploring a compassion-focused intervention for persistent pain in a group setting. British Journal of Pain, 13(1): 59-66.


Meet your instructor(s)

Dr Zoey Malpus

Dr Zoey Malpus

Clinical Psychologist

Zoey is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Manchester University NHS Pain Service. She has been working in the NHS for over 25 years and specialising in Pain Management since 2004. Most of her work has been delivering group Pain Management Programmes and she has been using Compassion Focused Therapy in her work since 2011. The CFT approach addresses “striving” a new area for pain management and Zoey has developed this work into CFT for Pain Management groups, she has been running them since 2015. Zoey will present the outline and content of the groups, as well as presenting very encouraging outcomes from over 20 groups run so far.

Zoey is currently chair of the Physical Health Special Interest Group of the Compassionate Mind Foundation. She was previously an elected Council Member of the British Pain Society (2016-19) and has contributed to numerous national guidelines and core standards for Pain Services in the UK.


Can I watch the recordings in my own time?

We understand that, due to time differences, it may not be possible for you to attend this training live with us. With that in mind, the workshop will be recorded, and you'll have access to the recordings for a month after the live broadcast to watch in your own time.

I might have to miss a session due to prior commitments. Can I catch up later?

Yes, this absolutley fine. The workshop will be recorded, and you'll be able to catch up on anything you've missed for up to a month after the live broadcast.

Is this course suitable for someone new to CFT?

Yes, this course is suitable for those who are new to CFT, although some knowledge of the basics may be helpful.

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.

When will I receive the login details?

We will send joining instructions, including the Zoom workshop link, one week before the start date.

Will I get a certificate of attendance?

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

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.


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.