Can practicing self-compassion reduce shame?

I describe shame as that toxic, black mold that grows in dark, damp places that can make you sick when you don’t even know it is there.  In order to get healthy, first we must become aware of the mold’s existence and then we need to invite air and light into the space, because mold can’t survive in the light.  It is the same with shame.  Shame on the surface functions as an internal regulator to discourage us from violating moral and social norms.  However, when small seeds of shame are planted, especially when we are children, it grows just like toxic mold, creating a very unhealthy internal state of being.  From these toxic seeds of shame grow weeds, such as feelings of ‘less than’ and thoughts of ‘not being good enough’.   What if there was a simple internal cleaning solution that could eliminate that toxic shame?  Well, research on self-compassion is becoming the light that is needed to kill off those weeds at their very roots!

When I was little I had a lot of things happening to me that brought shame, including my parents getting divorced and being poor due to being raised by a single mother.  With no money to spare, we found ourselves pulling things out of the Good Will bins, instead of putting things into them, so often our clothes did not fit right (I remember high-water pants before they were a fashion item).  In such a vulnerable place, my mom was taken advantage of by men and I witnessed domestic violence.  These types of circumstances were out of my control, but that didn’t stop the seeds of mold from taking hold and sprouting nasty weeks.  And those weeds, always present, drove my behaviors for many years.

Finally, when my body began to show signs of disease, I realized I needed to change something.  With the help of a good therapist, I was able to gain insight into how traumatizing those events were to a child and how the shame guided my behavioral responses, such as trying to be perfect all of the time and taking responsibility for ‘out-of-scope’ tasks and events.  Add my people-pleasing part and I had the trifecta for anxiety, exhaustion, depression and many other symptoms of trauma.

When I was able to offer myself the same compassion I would offer others that were experiencing some sort of suffering, I began to feel a sense of relief.  My thoughts changed from ‘What is wrong with you’ to ‘What happened to you’.  And I was finally able to move into a space of understanding, opening the door to choice when it came to how I wanted to act in this world.  Offering myself compassion by shining light on the toxic mold of shame opened the door to true peace of mind.  Cultivating compassion has been shown to reduce the negative chemicals (e.g., cortisol, etc.) and increase the positive ones (e.g., oxytocin, etc.) in the brain.  And with this data, new models of therapy are emerging within the field of trauma-informed care.  One of the most recent and promising ones, Somatic Self-Compassion® training is a trauma-informed self-compassion training that was designed to combine interoception (how we feel on the inside) and sensory modulation (adaptive responses to external changes) in order to teach individuals more effective coping with current and past stress.

One of the most recent feasibility research studies utilizing Somatic Self-Compassion® included shame as a variable to better understand how stress, shame and self-compassion might be related.  What this study showed was that combining trauma-informed care with the increased focus on somatic/body intelligence (i.e., interoception and sensory modulation) reduces shame, including body shame and that such training would be a good fit for trauma survivors.

To read the full study, click on the link below:

Can welcoming and accepting our unpleasant emotions change an unhealthy relationship to food?

Growing up, my parents had two different approaches to emotions.  One, my mother, expressed them all the time and the other, my father, never expressed them at all, believing that showing emotion was a sign of weakness.  As I write this, I now know that my household was not all that uncommon.  What I have learned over my life time is that many people struggle to balance their emotional experiences because we were never taught that emotions are natural, universal, and intelligent.  Instead, we were taught that unpleasant emotions were not welcome and somehow had to be controlled!

Being a more “right-brained” human, I tried my best to control my emotions over the years, having internalized the cultural myth that emotions can be controlled.  What tools are available to use in a war to try and control unpleasant emotions?  Exercise? Shopping? Work? Food?  Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes!  Over the years, work and food took center stage for me as my weapons of choice.

I didn’t understand then that those weapons were pointed at me, trying to harm or shut up a significant source of my innate human intelligence, the part of my intelligence that was trying to tell me that my needs were not being met in that moment.  I used those weapons to attempt to distract myself from a sense of overwhelm and loss of control.  Work became a source of comfort for the part of me that wanted to have a voice and food became a source of comfort for the part of me that believed it had just survived a life-challenging event, where it had navigated through the overwhelm and came out on the other side.  Food became almost a reward for making it through each day, with my thoughts saying “You did a good job, so you deserve to treat yourself to a big meal” and my body initially responding to the food intake with a release of tension, almost as if it was thanking me for finally giving it fuel to continue to live.  Now I recognize the need that was not getting met in the moment was comfort!

Before the diagnosis of binge-eating disorder (BED) officially made it into the DSM-V in 2013, I would (and still do) describe my past, unhealthy relationship with food as an emotional eating disorder.  I had bought into the “comfort food” phenomenon, where people seek out certain foods that create a temporary elevation of mood and a sense of relaxation.  It was only after spending time with a compassionate therapist and discovering yoga as a replacement tool was I able to befriend my emotions and my body enough to listen to what they were trying to tell me.  When I gave them “on air” time, I was able to become more aware of how I used food to soothe and distract from facing the fear and feeling the sting of powerful emotions, such as shame and rejection.

It was my own personal journey of learning to sit with my powerful emotions and honor that they serve me that brought my emotions into balance, so they don’t feel so overwhelming and scary anymore (and no longer show up in the most inappropriate places!).  In fact, when I start to feel overwhelmed, it is a red flag to “STOP” and reevaluate what I need to bring back balance.  By welcoming and accepting all of my emotions, I was able to establish a healthy relationship to food, recognizing food as simply fuel for my vehicle, so I could begin to make food choices that might be considered “premium gas” for my body.

It is also my own personal healing journey that has informed my work as a psychotherapist, embracing emotion-focused therapy as my “go to” approach.  What I learned – and share with my clients – is that as humans, we all have emotions and would not want to control them because they inform us, as they are a powerful source of intelligence.  So how excited was I when I read new research that validated my personal experience!  This research confirmed that the experience of unpleasant emotions is among the most accurate predictors for binge eating episodes in BED and individuals with BED often experience difficulties with deficits in emotion regulation.  It looked at the effectiveness of emotion-focused therapy to reduce the reliance on an eating disorder as an emotional coping mechanism and the evidence is emerging for the benefits of EFT for BED!

If you would like to read the full research article, click the link below:

Is expanding our capacity for compassion – for self and other – the key ingredient in healing through psychotherapy?

Growing up in chaos challenges our equilibrium to seek control, wherever and whenever we can find it.  This is a recipe for our perfectionist part to step forward and take control, driving us mercilessly to do more and better, striving for an ideal that does not exist.  Ultimately, this is a recipe for failure, disappointment, anxiety, depression or worse.  It wasn’t until I learned that as a spiritual being having a human experience that I am limited and flawed that acceptance began to flow in.  This realization did not mean that I stopped striving to grow, do better and be a less judgmental human.  It did mean that I had to reign in my perfectionist part and redefine my goals and ideals.

When acceptance began to flow for my limitations and mistakes, along with it came relief.  I could stop setting myself up for failure and begin to release my grip on unrealistic expectations, not only for myself but of others.  It opened the door to see and accept the limitations of others as a natural and universal aspect of being human.  It also loosened the grip of the need to control, which calmed my overly developed responsible part, creating space for the capacity to simply be.

Part of my journey towards acceptance included work through psychotherapy that encouraged me to confront the chaos of my childhood and the traumatizing effects it had on all parts of me.  I learned that perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels a primary thought that if I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.  Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.  Shame says ‘I am bad’ versus the feeling of guilt, which says ‘I did something bad’.

Having a compassionate witness, my psychotherapist, guide me along the sometimes slow and painful path back to wholeness, was mission critical for my healing.  I came to learn that as children living through adverse experiences we adapt by turning against ourselves, which distorts our sense of self.  We develop self-hatred as an adaptive response to protect our parents, which plants the seed that will grow the perfectionist part and set us on the path to work to improve our ‘bad’ self.

As I write this, my intention is not to blame, pass judgment on or shame parents.  I am in a space of understanding and acceptance that humans do the best they can with what they know in the moment.  However, the child goes through an unconscious development process that suggests:  which is safer, for the child to believe that their parents are bad and they don’t love you or that they are incompetent and the world is not safe OR for the child to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are not good enough or have something to be ashamed of?  When we can understand that the fear of the loss of the attachment to our parents creates unendurable pain, then we can understand it is safer to turn on ourselves, because it leaves room for hope.  Hope that if we work hard enough, we can change that bad part of ourselves and become lovable.  This process creates the belief that if I can be good enough, I’ll be loved and belong.

What current research is offering is an approach to undoing the damage of this natural adaptive developmental process that is effective and embraced by people who suffer from shame.  It is compassion-focused therapy.  What is being demonstrated is that compassion is an essential capacity for growth, both inside and out.  It is why I integrate a self-compassion assessment and meditation into my healing offering through talk therapy and offer a recording (here) for download for ongoing support.  Having and truly offering compassion in therapy honors the experience of universal human suffering and now research is creating the evidence needed for compassion focused therapy to be embraced by the psychotherapy community.

To read more about where the research on compassion focused therapy currently stands, click the button below:

Can primary care physicians jump start the complex PTSD healing journey of the underserved?

As efforts to shine light on the underlying causes of health risk continue, especially as the disparities have become even clearer during this pandemic, the focus remains on the connection between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the burden created on the human body individually and the healthcare system as a whole.  I am so grateful for Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s Surgeon General who established early childhood, health equity and ACEs and toxic stress as key priorities, with a goal to reduce ACEs and toxic stress by half in one generation.

It still amazes me that so many people are not aware of the ACEs data that show the trauma our children endure, especially within low-income communities of color.  It has been out for years and continues to be collected every year, with expanding definitions of what constitutes adverse childhood experiences.  And it becomes frustrating when our healthcare systems continue to simply look at the symptoms of trauma, such as addiction, depression, and anxiety, without addressing the root cause.

I’m encouraged, and I hope you too find it encouraging, to learn that Dr. Burke Harris is starting with a campaign to provide Medi-Cal providers training, clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for ACEs.  For more information on this campaign, you can click here.

It is also encouraging to hear about the research looking at other approaches to the chronic effects of trauma that are showing positive outcomes, especially within underserved primary care patient populations.  One particular pilot study tested the feasibility of a two-session motivational treatment intervention, implemented with Black primary care patients.  The intervention addressed adverse childhood experiences, post-traumatic stress symptoms, health risk behaviors and behavioral health referral acceptance.  The results were encouraging, suggesting that it is feasible to implement a brief motivational treatment with underserved primary care patients, that was received well and connected almost one-third of the participants to behavioral health services to continue the healing journey.

To read more on this pilot study, click the link below:

What is it about mindfulness that reduces stress – ACCEPTANCE!

In my own personal journey of healing, as well as being a compassionate witness to the healing of others, I have come to realize that suffering comes from rejecting parts of ourselves that we either think or believe are unacceptable to others.  When I first found myself in psychotherapy, I discovered that I was rejecting my emotional parts, because expressing emotions in my family of origin was either not acceptable or was overwhelming.  However, the effort it took to try to reject these emotions from my life was exhausting, created a great deal of anxiety and was completely unsuccessful.  In fact, the more I rejected them, the more my emotions would come out when I least expected!

It wasn’t until my therapist had me befriend my emotions that I was able to regulate them, honoring that they were a core source of my intelligence and would not want to reject them.  Wow, what a concept, ACCEPT my emotions as part of this experience of being human.  When I learned, which was a process, to allow those parts of me to express themselves, they no longer raged (read overwhelmed me).  It was as if giving them air actually dissipated the energy, versus the thought that ignoring or avoiding them, not giving them air (AKA suffocating or stuffing them) would extinguish the flame/energy.  And one of the main emotions I was trying to avoid feeling was fear.  My family did not acknowledge fear and instead taught us to wear many different masks to not reveal such vulnerability.  So the perfectionist and people-pleasing parts of me became overactive, to compensate for the scared little girl part that simply wanted to feel safe and accepted.

Along the way, I gathered some tools to deploy during the process of accepting all parts of myself, such as but not limited to deep breathing, yoga, journaling and guided meditation, as these tools helped me to welcome those parts of myself that I had been trying to avoid.  These tools might be referred to as contemplative science, cognitive practices, or simply mindfulness.  Now, I didn’t really know what it was about these practices that made them so effective for me, yet what I did know was after practicing them consistently for a period of time my anxiety went away.  What I came to realize was that the power of rejection creates long-lasting wounds to the hearts of many and that acceptance is healing.  Acceptance is a basic human need, as we are wired for connection and want to belong.  When we believe parts of ourselves are unacceptable and try to reject or mask those parts, we create our own chronic stress and suffering that manifests in symptoms such as anxiety.

Now the research is helping us to understand the power of acceptance and how contemplative science practices support us in monitoring our present-moment experiences through the lens of acceptance, reducing biological stress in the body through emotion regulation and evidenced by a reduction in cortisol levels and systolic blood pressure reactivity.  In addition, research is showing how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is becoming an empirically-supported treatment option for anxious youth.  I think this is critical information to share at this time, as no one knows the lasting effects of the fear coming from the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic is creating.  What we do know is that social isolation is not a healthy state of being for humans (think solitary confinement in prison) and we will all need tools to heal the traumas of this time.

If you would like to read more of the research on the healing effects of acceptance, click the boxes below:

Compassion for Survivors of Trauma – a New View of Substance Use Disorder/Addiction!

I remember being assigned to read the book by Dr. Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, while in graduate school and simply feeling gratitude, compassion and validation afterwards.  I never believed in the medical model of addiction that describes the symptom of addiction as a chronic disease of the brain, even suggesting a genetic component to the disease, implying that if my parent(s) had addictions, most likely I would too.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the brains of people who struggle with addiction are different, yet those changes are created as a response to the adverse childhood experiences (AKA TRAUMA) these people survived.  And if your parents suffered from addictions when you were growing up, that experience is traumatic to a child!

I’ve written before about the impact of adverse childhood experiences, especially on physical health later in life as well as addiction; however, I felt compelled to revisit it again when I learned of research that found over 96% of the study participants suffering from substance use disorders, including prescription opioids, nicotine, and cocaine, had trauma histories.  When comparing the groups based upon their drug of choice, the prescription opiate group reported more traumatic childhood experiences than the other groups and a younger age of their first adverse childhood event.  So, when you learn about the underlying dynamics associated with substance use, the thought of “Just Say No” to drugs seems crazy!

Trauma comes in many packages and I’m grateful that the new California Surgeon General (Dr. Nadine Burke Harris) is focusing on early childhood, health equity and Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress as her key priorities. (For more information on the ACEs Aware initiative, visit www.ACEsAware.org.)  It is time to stop blaming the victims and participate in bringing this information forward in order to educate.  What we don’t know, we don’t know.  However, once we know better, we can do better.  With this knowledge, we can bring more empathy and compassion in our interactions with people that struggle with substances.  We can take extra steps to explain this new research to them, validating their experiences and bringing them hope that they can heal from these past traumatic experiences and release their attachment to something that is harmful to them.  We can empower them to explore various healing modalities, such as psychotherapy, neurofeedback, meditation, hypnosis, guided imagery, and expressive arts, such as yoga, writing and drawing, all of which have been shown to support post-traumatic growth.

To read more about this research, click on the box below:

Is positive psychology really effective?

When we experience loss, it is normal and natural to feel sad.  It is also normal and natural when we are under stress to use safety seeking strategies such as pulling back from support structures, such as friends and family.  At the same time, it can sometimes be difficult to move through such normal experiences and rediscover the joys in life.  We can get stuck under the weight of loss and stress, feeling alone and on edge, especially when the stress is chronic.

Reminders of loss often arise at this time of year, whether it is the loss of the innocence of our childhood or the loss of someone that we loved.  Mix in the stress of the holiday season, when our “To Do” list grows long, and it is a recipe for pulling us down into the gloom and making us more susceptible to falling ill.  It can be especially challenging when experiencing this sense of spiraling downward when we don’t have any tools to support us in turning it around.

When we feel alone and don’t want to bother anyone with our troubles, where can we turn to support our navigation through such powerful emotions that tend to knock us off balance?  Is it truly possible to use positive psychology to get us unstuck and back in balance?  Can the technology wave of online help deliver such life balancing tools, allowing us to take this journey from the privacy of our homes?

Well, a new randomized controlled trial took a look at a facilitated online positive emotion regulation intervention with caregivers responsible for people with a diagnosis of dementia.  It was a 6-week intervention that focused on testing the effects on positive emotion, depression, anxiety, and physical health.  This study demonstrated that there are tools that can teach us to experience a more positive attitude and when we have a more positive attitude, it reduces the powerful emotions of anxiety and depression!  This study supports the use of online, remotely delivered programs to support the navigation towards psychological well-being through the use of positive psychology tools.

If you would like to read more about this research, click on the link below:

Do emotions have a role in healing childhood trauma?

I sense that most of us are aware that our brain, especially the rational part (i.e., prefrontal cortex) does not reach full development until age 25 or so, which implies, by default that until that age, we tend to operate more from the emotional parts, such as the amygdala.  And, as our brains develop, the connections between the two (emotional and rational) centers are still developing as well.  What we may not be so aware of is the impact of childhood trauma on such connections.  We also may not be fully aware of many of the situations that are now understood to be traumatizing to children.

Let me start with the latter.  Extensive research has been ongoing since the original group of participants were recruited for the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study between 1995 and 1997 in California.  Although the study ended in 1997, most states continue to collect such information through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.  The information collected focuses on child abuse and neglect and other household challenges, including intimate partner violence, substance abuse and mental illness in the household, parental separation or divorce, and if a household member was incarcerated. This research has resulted in the inclusion of a new diagnosis of Complex posttraumatic stress disorder, also referred to as developmental PTSD, within the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition, recently officially endorsed by WHO’s World Health Assembly and set for implementation outside of the US in 2022.

This is a HUGE step forward in identifying the underlying cause of most challenging symptoms to mental health, including anxiety and depression, and how these symptoms link to most chronic physical diseases, such as heart disease and cancer!  I have been known to say we don’t need a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, we simply need The Book of Trauma.  When we all can embrace the idea that there is nothing wrong with us and instead can understand it is what happened to us when we were little that makes it so difficult to live a life full of joy and meaning today, there will no longer be any stigma to seeking support and we can begin the process of healing by shedding the shame and suffering we have been carrying.

Now to expand on the awareness of the impact such developmental PTSD has on the growing connections between the emotional and rational parts of a child’s brain.  When we are little and presented with trauma (as defined above), the emotional input to the brain is overwhelming to the point where we only ‘feel’ and are unable to ‘think’ because the developing rational part of the brain is hijacked by the emotional part, cutting off the connections that encourage a more balanced perspective.  The most familiar and natural fear responses of ‘fight or flight’ in many cases may not be an option for children.  Therefore, the ‘freeze’ response may be the most accessible, especially in young children.  The freeze response is used when the presenting danger cannot be escaped or beaten down, and if either were to be attempted, might actually increase the risk of harm.  The freeze response is a survival response that encourages stillness and silence to avoid being seen and offering a mental escape instead.  What this normal response to danger also does is narrow the range of emotional awareness to flavors of fear and shuts down the development of a more diverse range of emotions, including engagement, joy, comfort, confidence, empowerment and enthusiasm.  When the freeze response helped us to survive the traumas of our childhood, it also stunted our emotional intelligence (aka alexithymia), locking us in a world where danger lurks around every corner, even as adults.

So what can we do to unlock the door to the fear chamber and open it up to a safer, more peaceful existence?  In order to facilitate improvements in trauma-specific symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, dissociation, impulsivity, and interpersonal problems, emotions need to be welcome to express themselves.  Working with a therapist that embraces the intelligence of emotions, through perhaps using Emotionally-focused therapy, can address the emotional challenges associated with alexithymia and thus, begin to resolve issues of childhood trauma.

To read a little more of the research on how working with emotions heals childhood trauma, click on the link below:

 

 

What does your attitude about crying say about you?

Take a moment and ask yourself which of the following four statements reflects your belief about crying:

  • Crying is healthy
  • Crying is controllable
  • Crying helps one feel better
  • I hate crying

Recent research reflects that your beliefs about crying reveal your attachment style.

When I grew up, I got mixed messages from my family about crying.  My mother would cry all of the time and I would presume that she would identify with either the ‘crying is healthy’ and/or ‘crying helps one feel better’ beliefs.  Whereas, my father on the other hand would never cry and most likely would identify with ‘crying is controllable’ and/or ‘I hate crying’ beliefs.  More recently, I heard several quotes that stuck with me, one within my yoga roots by Kripalvanandji “One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice.” and the other “Crying is how your body speaks when your mouth can’t explain the pain you feel” which appears to be from an unknown author.

Crying is a universal human attachment behavior and starts at birth.  As little ones, crying notifies our caregivers that we need something, to relay important information to our attachment figures, such as food or sleep.  As we grow up, crying is a part of emotional processing and acceptance of loss.  The act of crying tends to elicit care and comfort from others throughout our lives.  But what happens as we grow when our caregivers have different beliefs about crying and they may not respond to our needs with care and comfort as intended?

I remember times when I was crying and my father’s response was something like ‘I won’t speak to you until you stop crying’, which implied to me that he was not available to provide care and comfort and somehow I must find a way to do that for myself.  I also witnessed that same response when my mother would be crying and he would not provide her with any comfort.  I quickly learned that crying does not elicit comfort and care in my family and, instead, makes the source of comfort and care unavailable.  As you might suspect, I tried my best to ‘stuff’ my emotions, especially my fear and sadness, and tried to rely on my words to explain my responses to the world.  But what happens when words fail?

Another memory comes back to me when I was a young woman working in the corporate world and I found myself feeling unsupported at work, even bullied.  I approached Human Resources and started to use my words, until my tears starting flowing and the dam broke.  I could not stop crying and I felt ashamed.  The HR person even alluded to the fact that my tears made it difficult to navigate the circumstances.  Well the research findings now show that the beliefs we develop about crying as a result of our experiences with our attachment figures have implications for interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning throughout our lives, impacting all of our relationships.

Learning and embracing the wisdom of Kripalvanandji helps us embrace our humanness, which includes the capacity to feel and experience emotions, and release any shame around crying.  It is a normal, natural human response to loss – whether we learned to deny/avoid the pain that comes with loss or cry more and stronger when we experience loss, hoping to get the care and comfort we all deserve – that has the power to heal.

If you would like to learn more about how your beliefs about crying may reflect your attachment style in relationships, click the box below:

Tame Your Dragon with Compassion-focused Therapy (CFT)!

Do you sense that you are your own worst enemy?  Is your inner critic’s voice loud and obnoxious on most days?  Are you challenged to accept your flaws as a human being?  Do you find yourself berating yourself when you make a mistake?  Is most of your energy and time spent on trying to be perfect in order to avoid making such mistakes?  Well, you are not alone and Compassion-focused Therapy (CFT) might be the prescription that the doctor orders!

Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, can take many forms, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotionally-focused Therapy (EFT), and Narrative Therapy, and Compassion-focused Therapy (CFT) is one of the newer kids on the block.  However, the research is very promising and CFT is making a name for itself within the field of psychotherapy!  It evolved as an approach to healing for people experiencing high shame and self-criticism that creates mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and addictive, impulsive behaviors.  And, having been a perfectionist in the past that suffered from anxiety growing up in an environment born from chaos, I can personally attest to the peace that comes from quieting the inner critic and accepting my imperfections as a normal, natural state as a spiritual being having a human experience.

So if you are tired of trying to be perfect (whatever that is?!?) and feeling like a failure when you make mistakes, all hope is not lost.  If you are thinking that you might need some help in challenging the shame that your inner critic brings up, then you might seek out support from someone that will work with you to expand your ability to experience compassion through CFT.  As a psychotherapist that looks through such a compassionate lens, it has been my experience that it will feel awkward at first because it is something new and different.  Yet, it is exactly that feeling that indicates there is much room for growth and healing through compassion.

Although I have not done any research of my own, I can personally attest to the shift I have experienced as well as the shifts I have seen in my clients when our hearts began to open to the idea of our common humanity through compassion.  For those of you that need a little more evidence, click on the link below to read a review that summarizes the findings of research where CFT has improved the mental health in clinical populations: