Pre-congress workshop “Evolution, Attachment and Compassion Focused Therapy”
Cognitive behaviour therapists have always recognised that many of our dispositions for certain kind of goals and motives (to avoid harm, to connect with others, develop attachment relations with the young and partners) along with our emotions and ways of thinking, are rooted in evolved mechanisms (Beck 1983; Beck et al., 1985, Marks 1987). This talk will outline how the evolution of attachment and other prosocial motives and behaviours created brain processes that are central to the regulation of emotion, and prosocial versus antisocial behaviour. In addition, it will outline how compassion focused therapy evolved out of CBT and has now been integrated into CBT. Attention will also be given to some of the central practices of compassion focused therapy which are designed to stimulate these internal physiological systems and create a compassionate mind. Developing a compassionate mind and that self-identity then becomes a central therapeutic aim which is used to address kind difficulty such as self-criticism shame and trauma.