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Compassion Focused Therapy for Physical Health Problems

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October 28, 2022
October 28, 2022

Timings and Registration

The workshop will be delivered online via Zoom and has been designed to be interactive and give delegates as much of the experience and content as the physical workshop as possible. Zoey will be going through the content, sharing the slides and materials and answering any questions you may have. There will also be instances of group work in breakout rooms throughout the days. We ask delegates therefore, to attend the full day to benefit from this and to receive the CPD certificate at the end.

Timings (UK BST) for the workshop:- 9.30am – 4.30pm

There will be no formal registration. You will be placed in a waiting room once you click on the link and one of the CMF Team will add you to the meeting. The team will start adding people to the workshop from 9.15am (UK BST Time) onwards.

Compassion Focused Therapy for Physical Health Problems

About This Course

Long term or chronic physical symptoms are those that persistent beyond the usual time for healing to have occurred, generally considered to be 3 months. For example, the terms chronic pain or chronic fatigue are an indication of the length of time the symptom has been present rather than an indication of symptom severity.

In the UK, 15 million people are living with a long term condition and these are chronic diseases for which there is no cure. Medical input is aimed at managing the symptoms with drugs and other non-pharmacological treatment.

Normal psychological reactions to living with long term conditions include fear of the symptoms 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 illness-related distress can then feed into the problem and make it even more difficult to cope with symptoms, further increasing suffering.

Early psychological approaches were initially psychosomatic and aimed at symptom reduction. In more recent years there has been a paradigm shift towards more contextual, acceptance-based approaches with an emphasis on living well despite the persistence of symptoms, with a focus on reducing the associated distress and disability.

The CBT-based fear avoidance approach has focused on stress-related reactions involving “threat” system responses similar to the red circle of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). However, Cognitive models do not appear to address the very common problem of “striving” or “boom and bust approach to activity” that occurs when people tend to be overactive on good days but this serves only to exacerbate their symptoms leading to “flare-ups’ and more “bad days” caused by over-activity.

This is the main new development that CFT can bring to managing long term conditions, helping people to understand their “striving” reactions, 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 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 their long term condition is still likely to be there in the background.

Morning Session:

Current prevalence of long-term conditions and the impact upon individuals and society.

Understanding established CBT-based fear-avoidance models and introducing CFT models to explain our urge to engage in striving behaviour with unintended consequences, boom and bust exacerbations and activity-related flare-up of symptoms

Opportunities to formulate real cases in break-out rooms

Afternoon Session:

Sharing the session outlines for an 8-week group CFT for managing long term conditions and sharing successful outcomes for 7 years of delivering this group in pain management and heart/lung transplant services.

Return to breakout rooms to devise treatment plans for the cases studies formulated in the morning sessions

Opportunities for person practice – optional compassionate flow exercise and guided safe place imagery for meeting your critical self with compassion

Learning objectives

  1. Following this workshop, participants will be able to use the CFT 3 systems model to formulate the stress and striving reactions that can exacerbate long term physical symptoms
  2. Participants will also be able to use the 8-week CFT for managing long term conditions to devise their own individual or group treatment plans

Following this workshop participants are entitled to apply to join the compassion discussion list which is an international list for individuals who are committed to compassion focused therapy. It is not a general list of compassion interests.

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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

• 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

• Austin, J, Drossaert, CHC, Schoevers, MJ, Sanderman, R, Kirby, J & Bohlmeijer ET (2020) Compassion-based interventions for people with long-term physical conditions: a mixed methods systematic review Psychology & Health 36(1):16-42.

• Lanzaro, C, Carvaalho, SA, Lapa, T, Valentim, A and Gago B. A systematic review of Self-Compassion in Chronic Pain; from Correlation to Efficacy The Spanish Journal of Psychology (2021) 1-19

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 all of 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.

If you're unable to attend for the entire duration, please email to let us know, as non-attendees will not receive a certificate unless we are informed of your circumstances.

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

Yes, towards the bottom of the page under the 'prices' section you will find a link to download a booking form for this workshop. Please fill this in and email to

Can I attend this course without having completed an Introductory workshop?

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

When will I receive the login details?

All delegates signed up to the workshop will receive the joining links, instructions, handouts and any extra resources and information via email. We send these roughly a week before the workshop start date.

Will I get a certificate of attendance?

All attendees will received a certificate upon completion of the course. This will be emailed to you, so please ensure that your details are correct on registration.

Our staff will take a register on each day of the workshop and any non-attendees will not receive a certificate. If you are unable to attend for any reason, please get in touch at


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.