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Embodied Compassion: Integrating CFT and Martial Arts to Entrain Therapist Courage

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£245 - £325
September 9, 2022
September 10, 2022

Timings and Registration

Both days: 9.30am - 4.30pm UK BST (registration from 9.00am)

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

‍This workshop is priced as follows:

Early Bird Rate   £285.00  expires on  15.05.2022

Student Rate      £245.00

Standard Rate    £325.00

For those in difficult financial circumstances, who may struggle to afford this price,

please contact

This workshop will be 14 hours towards your CPD, and you will receive a certificate of attendance shortly after the workshop via email.  Handouts will sent via email to bring your own copy to the workshop. There will be a formal registration  sign-in sheet at the venue and the CMF staff will be there from 9.00am onwards on both days.

Embodied Compassion: Integrating CFT and Martial Arts to Entrain Therapist Courage

About this course

Psychotherapeutic encounters inevitably entail moments and episodes of disaffiliation, ruptures and conflict. These events can pose significant challenges and threats to both client and therapist, that can undermine/derail the therapeutic alliance and subsequent compassionate growth. Resolving and repairing such ruptures requires therapists to tolerate not only their clients' but also their own distress, to better afford the courage and wisdom to respond compassionately.

This two-day experiential workshop will expose participants to martial arts-inspired CFT skills and practices to further help develop their distress tolerance and compassionate resilience, so as to stay fully present and emotionally available in difficult therapeutic encounters. Through a broad range of martial arts exercises, clinicians/practitioners shall experience and further develop their skills in the following:

  • Maintaining balance, stability, flexibility and compassionate responsiveness across emotional states;
  • Deep distress tolerance in being with strong (threat-based) emotions;
  • How to rapidly and fluidly switch between motivational systems to stay affiliatively engaged during moments of high emotional and relational threat;
  • Dynamically responding to fears, blocks and resistances to compassion by redirecting energy flow;
  • The courage to persist and take action in the face of challenges and threats.

This workshop does not require participants to have any previous experience or established practice in Martial Arts. Participants will need to have a basic understanding of the CFT model and therapy process(es), particularly the two psychologies of and the flow(s) of compassion.

Workshop Outline

Day 1

Morning Session:

  • Overview of rupture-repair processes in psychotherapy
  • Overview of Martial Arts as Radically Embodied Compassion training, parallels and complementarity with CFT and relevance/applicability to compassionate psychotherapeutic processes
  • Preliminary REC practices – static stance, breathwork and salutes as pre-session centering practices  

Afternoon Session:

  • Introduction to Compassionate Maai concepts and experiential practices – dynamic therapeutic distancing, embodied attunement/mirroring, synchrony vs. asynchrony
  • Exploring and playfully experimenting with compassionate power – kihap/kiai exercises  
Day 2

Morning Session:

  • Advanced REC practices – in-session practices to facilitate rupture-repair, dynamically working with FBRs  

Afternoon Session:

  • Post-session psychophysiological recovery
  • Distress Tolerance Imagery Training and Rescripting
  • Badge-giving ritual

Learning objectives

  1. How Radically Embodied Compassion training can helpfully influence and shape CFT work via a process of somatic metamorphism
  2. How to use embodied practices of martial arts as a form of Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) to stimulate the physiological processes associated with and underpinning compassionate motivation, and thus enhance competencies in compassionate engagement and action
  3. How martial arts-informed Radically Embodied Compassion training can increase CFT practitioners’ motivational monitoring and switching abilities, particularly in difficult therapeutic encounters.

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.

Training Modalities

Predominantly experiential, but also incorporating PowerPoint, video, role-play.

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Future Inn Bristol

Cabot Circus,

Bond Street,




Click here for the hotel website

Click here for the location on google maps

This course is for

Mental Healthcare Practitioners
Psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, nurses, psychiatrists and other mental health professions

Clapton, N., & Hiskey, S. (in press). Radically Embodied Compassion Training: Cultivating psychotherapist courage, distress tolerance and compassionate responsiveness via traditional Martial Arts.

Clapton, N., & Hiskey, S. (2020). Radically Embodied Compassion: The Potential Role of Traditional Martial Arts in Compassion Cultivation. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Hiskey, Syd & Clapton, Neil (2019). The martial arts and embodied distress tolerance in psychological therapy. International Journal of Martial Arts, Volume 5, Article 4.

Foster, D. (2015). Fighters who don’t fight: The case of aikido and somatic metaphorism. Qualitative Sociology, 38(2), 165-183.

Faggianelli, Patrick & Lukoff, David (2006). Aikido and psychotherapy: A study of psychotherapists who are Aikido practitioners. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 38(2), 159.

Meet your instructor(s)

Dr Syd Hiskey

Dr Syd Hiskey

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Dr Syd Hiskey is a consultant clinical psychologist in full-time independent practice. He has practised a wide range of martial arts including Karate, Wing Chun Kung Fu and hybrid defence and more recently urban combatives. He  is the co-founder of Fierce Compassion Martial Arts (

Dr Neil Clapton

Dr Neil Clapton

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Neil Clapton is a Clinical Psychologist working in the NHS within secondary adult mental health services in Swindon. His clinical work involves providing Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) to people experiencing complex trauma, personality and attachment difficulties. Neil spent much of his early-middle childhood and early adolescence practicing the martial art of Taekwondo, culminating in him being awarded a 1st-degree Black Belt at the age of 13. He is the co-founder of Fierce Compassion Martial Arts (


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?

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

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

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.

Can you recommend a Compassion Focused Therapist?

There is an international directory of CFT interested therapists here. From here, you will be able to search for a therapist by location or specialisation.

Please note that the Foundation is not a professional accrediting body, and we cannot monitor or endorse individual therapists listed here. Listing on in this directory is voluntary and the responsibility of the practitioner, and in no way equates to the CMF's endorsement or recommendation for their clinical services.


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.