Compassion Focused Therapy: Building Better Relationships by Extending Compassion to Others

By Mary Welford

Part of Compassion Focused Therapy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Compassion Focused Therapy can be used to improve relationships. Relationships, be they with family, friends or partners, are the key to wellbeing. No matter how happy and contented you are with the important relationships in your life, there’s always room for improvement.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you extend compassion to others and improve your relationships:

  • Compassionately bring to mind someone you know and care about, and consider that they too have a tricky brain and are a product of their experiences and influences. They wish to be happy and free of suffering. Focus on your feelings of compassion for them. Based on this compassionate understanding, consider what you feel motivated to do.
  • Bring to mind a relationship you have and consider an aspect of the relationship that you find difficult – perhaps relating to something that the other person does that you find challenging. Compassionately consider why they may behave in this particular way. What may be influencing them; how may they be feeling; what may they want out of life?
  • If you want to broach a difficult subject or assert yourself with a family member, friend or partner, compassionately consider what it may be helpful to say and how best to say it. Use compassionate practices to build up your strength, courage and commitment to address the issue.
  • Stop for a moment, maybe sitting on a park bench, and compassionately look around you at the other people passing by, engaging in their everyday experiences. Consider that they too have tricky brains and are a product of their experiences and influences. They too wish to be happy and free of suffering.

Notice how practicing compassion for others makes you feel and what you feel motivated to do. Consider making time to practice these compassionate exercises daily – you may want to make acting with compassion for others part of your regular practice.