Chris Irona

Working with shame - how Compassion Focused Therapy can help

Shame is one of the most painful of human experiences, and research has found higher levels of shame in all the major mental health disorders. Shame and high levels of self-criticism have been associated with poorer outcomes in therapy, and may lead to dropouts and non-attendance in some client groups. Compassion Focused Therapy (Gilbert, 2005, 2009) was initially developed to with and for people with high levels of shame and self-criticism who often struggled to benefit from standard interventions in CBT.  This talk will outline some of the key ideas of CFT, and how this can be a powerful approach to work with shame-based presentations.

Dr. Chris Irons is a clinical psychologist, researcher, writer and trainer specialising in Compassion Focused Therapy. He is co-director of Balanced Minds (, a London based organisation providing compassion-focused psychological interventions for individuals and organisations. He also works for the Compassionate Mind Foundation, and as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Derby.

For almost two decades, Chris has worked with Professor Paul Gilbert and other colleagues on research and clinical developments linked to CFT. He was involved in some of the initial research papers and book chapters on CFT (Gilbert & Irons, 2004, 2005), and has published many articles and book chapters on compassion, attachment, shame and self-criticism. He has authored five books, including ‘The Compassionate Mind Workbook’ (with Dr Elaine Beaumont) and ‘CFT from the Inside Out’ (with Russell Kolts, James Bennett-Levy and Tobyn Bell), and ‘The Compassionate Mind Approach for Difficult Emotions’ 

Chris regularly provides CFT teaching, training, workshops and retreats across the world. Chris is an experienced clinician, having worked in the NHS and in independent practice for many years. He has recently been leading on the development of compassion-based approaches for the general public to help people develop a more compassionate way of relating to themselves and others.

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