Multiple emotions, multiple selves: compassion focused therapy chairwork

This article examines the use of compassion-focused therapy (CFT) for treating depression, with a specific focus on the “multiple-selves” intervention. CFT is rooted in the understanding that the human mind is composed of diverse, and sometimes conflicting, motivations, emotions, and competencies. The multiple-selves technique involves clients personifying their different emotional states by sitting in separate chairs, allowing for the differentiation and exploration of these internal conflicts.

The study interviewed nine participants with depression immediately after this chairwork intervention, using interpretative phenomenological analysis to uncover three key themes: the appreciation of emotional complexity, the benefits of the chairwork process, and the role of compassion in integrating the client’s affective world. The results highlight how this embodied approach can help clients better understand their internal multiplicity and develop more self-compassion, which is crucial for creating a sense of personal coherence when struggling with depression. The article discusses the important clinical implications of these findings for the effective treatment of depression using CFT techniques.

View the study

 

Taken from: The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (2021), vol. 14, e22, page 1 of 17 doi:10.1017/S1754470X2100018

Tobyn Bell¹, Jane Montague², James Elander² and Paul Gilbert²
¹Division of Psychology and Mental Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK and
²School of Psychology, College of Health, Psychology and Social Care, Derby, UK

 

 

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