Paul Gilbert Talks All Things Self-Compassion

meditation mental health mindfulness self-compassion

If you have been wanting to start a self-compassion practice, this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast will blow your mind!  We address everything that you need to know about self-compassion.  When I say we, I am referring to myself and Paul Gilbert. You heard that right!  Professor of Clinical Psychology at University of Derby and Consultant Clinical Psychologist Paul Gilbert joins us today. I consider Paul Gilbert to be a Shame and Self-Compassion “Guru.”

Shame is something that we all experience and is very difficult when it comes to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Specific Phobias, and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s) such as Dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking) and Trichotillomania (hair pulling).  Paul talks about how to apply self-compassion in our everyday living and shares profound insight and understanding of the human brain.  We have talked about self-compassion on the podcast before and a lot of Paul’s insight compliments these discussions.

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For over 35 years, Gilbert researched psychopathology with an emphasis on shame and the treatment of shame-based struggles. He founded Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) and has written and edited 20 books.  Furthermore, Gilbert is the founder of the Compassionate Mind Foundation and was award an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2001.  I just know that you are going to LOVE this episode and what he has to say!

In this interview, Paul talks about his work and research, as well as how he came to practice and develop Compassion-Focused Therapy.  Rather than Compassion Therapy, it is called Compassion-Focused Therapy for a reason.  It focuses on the intervention with compassionate motivation.  CFT is about training people to create different voices or emotional tones.  Gilbert says that the emotional texture of the thinking is as important as the content.

Part of the problem is not just the content of what we think, but the emotional tone of our thinking. When we are worrying, we are often in an anxious tone.  When we are angry, we are often in an angry tone.  Emotional tones of the thoughts drive a lot of the difficulties.  The behavioral therapy is the same, but it focuses on the emotional texture and the motivation for the behavior.  Bullying yourself does not work.

Furthermore, Paul talks about the body texture and the importance of addressing it.  People often approach OCD with a threat posture.  Instead, the work is to prepare the body for the action of ERP by soothing it  You can do some breathing exercises to down-regulate the amygdala and prepare your posture by grounding the body.

Paul also discusses why he thinks we are self-critical and hostile towards oneself and provides what he believes to be the most important tools for practicing self-compassion.  Over time, the compassion piece can become more automatic.  You get better over time, as with other skills that you practice.  We ALL need to work on practicing self-compassion, which is beautiful to me because you are not alone.  


About Kimberley Quinlan

Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s).  Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years.  Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders.  Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client.  Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village. 

For more information, you can find Kimberley at the following: