Compassionate Social Fitness
Compassionate Social
Fitness:
Theory and Practice
Lynne Henderson
Shyness Institute
April 14, 2012
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Overview
Social Fitness Training: Theory and Practice
Stanford/Palo Alto shyness clinic
Compassion Focused Therapy
Adding a compassion focus
For better self-soothing
For shame vulnerable clients
For therapists who do individual Social Fitness Training
Compassionate Social Fitness Training
The case of Jane
BUT! Be prepared……………………………………………….
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Three Vicious Cycles
Fear
Shame
Anger
Negative
predictions
Self-blame
Other-blame
Approach
Avoidance
Resentment
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
What is Social
©
Fitness
?
Social Fitness, like physical
fitness, is a state of physiological,
behavioral, emotional, and
mental conditioning that implies
adaptive functioning and a sense
of well being.
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Social Fitness Training©
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Three Virtuous Cycles
Face fear
Accept self
Accept others
Accept fear
Support self
Support others
Act through
emotion
Acceptance
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
Accept Efforts Accept others’ efforts
Support
Forgiveness
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Compassion Focused Therapy: Gilbert
In order for us to be reassured by a thought (say) ‘I am lovable’
this thought needs to link with the emotional experience of
‘being lovable’.
If the positive affect system for such linkage is not activated
there is little feeling to the thought.
Compassion focused therapy therefore targets the activation of
the soothing system
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Types of Affect Regulator Systems
Content, safe,
connected
Drive, excite, vitality
Incentive/resourc
e- focused
Wanting,pursuing,
achieving
Activating
Threat-focused
Non-wanting/
Affiliative focused
Safeness-kindness
Soothing
Protection and
Safety-seeking
Activating/inhibiting
Anger, anxiety, disgust
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Basic Philosophy:CFT
We all just find ourselves here with a brain, emotions and
sense of (socially made) self we did not choose but have to
figure out.
Life involves dealing with tragedies (threats, losses, diseases,
decay, death) and people do the best they can.
Much of what goes on in our minds is not of ‘our design’ and
not our fault.
We are all in the same boat
De-pathologising and de-labelling – understanding unique
coping processes
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
The Need for Compassion in Social
Fitness Training
For better self-soothing and emotion regulation
For shame vulnerable clients
For working with individual clients who lack group support
To add direct interventions to build compassion for the self and
others, to help clients view shyness and shame not as
pathology, but as part of human condition
To add to Mindfulness work (MBSR) – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Henderson, L. (2011). Building social confidence using compassionfocused therapy to overcome shyness and social anxiety.
Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Three Compassionate Cycles
Face fear
Accept self
Accept others
Accept fear
Support self
Support others
Act through
emotion
Self-compassion
Compassion
toward others
Acceptance
Compassion
Forgiveness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Jane
Bright, attractive young woman in mid-twenties, college
graduate, living with parents
Severe APD, socially isolated, TV four hours per day, works at
home, attends community college
Shy in elementary school, SAD in middle school
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Caring-Compassionate Mind
SKILLS -TRAINING
Warmth
Warmth
Imagery
Attention
ATTRIBUTES
Care for
well-being
Feeling
Sympathy
Sensitivity
Compassio
n
Non-Judgement
Reasoning
Distress
tolerance
Empathy
Behaviour
Sensory
Warmth
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
Warmth
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Compassionate Compassionate
Social Social Fitness
Fitness
Behavior and cognition: In session exposures with challenging and
modifying unhelpful thoughts; behavioral homework, non-verbal
communication (SOFTEN; Gabor, 2001)
Mindfulness: Body scan, breath meditation,
Sensory: Building sensory awareness, locating emotions in body
Distress tolerance: Expressing emotions, tolerating discomfort (SUDS
70+)
Attention: Deliberate focusing of attention
Imagery: Safe place, perfect nurturer, compassionate ideal self
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Doing Better; Feeling Worse
ShyQ.
EOS
1-5
1-7
M = 4.3
M = 5.4
M = 3.5
M = 3.6
Most Difficult: Giving Talk
SAQ-Self-blame
1–9
SAQ-Shame
0–4
Pre
M = 9.0
M = 3.2
Post
M = 9.0
M = 3.2
Second most difficult: Conversation with one person
SAQ-Self-blame
1 – 9 M = 9.0
M = 5.0
SAQ-Shame
0 – 4 M = 2.4
M = 3.0
Third most difficult: Asking a question in class
SAQ-Self-blame
1 – 9 M = 9.0
M = 5.0
SAQ-Shame
0 – 4 M = 2.4
M = 3.0
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Resistance:
Fear of Compassion
Remember: Compassion focused therapy targets the activation
of the soothing system (to gain positive affect) to connect
thoughts with the emotional experience referred to by those
thoughts.
Compassion can be threatening. Clients can be afraid of
compassion toward the self, from others and for others.
Gilbert, P., McEwen, K., Matos, M., & Rivis, A. (2011). Fears of
compassion: Development of three self-report measures.
Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and
Practice 84, 239-255.
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Jane: Fear of
Compassion/Self
Expressing kindness, compassion toward self (rated 4; 0-4)
If I really think about being kind and gentle with myself it
makes me sad.
I fear that if I start to feel compassion and warmth for myself, I
will feel overcome with a sense of loss/grief.
I fear that if I become too compassionate to myself I will lose
my self-criticism and my flaws will show.
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Jane: Fear of Compassion/Others
Responding to compassion from others (rated 4; 0-4)
I’m fearful of becoming dependent because they might not
always be available or willing to give it.
If people are friendly and kind I worry they will find out
something bad about me that will change their mind.
When people are kind and compassionate towards me I feel
empty and sad.
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Countering Resistance to
Compassion
Acknowledging strengths:
Empathy toward her dog, the abandoned student, neighbor,
her parents (compassionate sacrifice?)
Continuing to build empathy toward her own distress:
Continuing to normalize shame, encourage self-disclosure,
active listening, reflecting emotions, writing exercises (Kristen
Neff)
Two chair exercises:
Protective self and the hopeful, trusting self
Self critical self and compassionate self-correcting self
Critical self and empathic self (to her own and others’ distress)
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson (with permission, Paul Gilbert)
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Three Compassionate Cycles
Face fear
Accept self
Accept others
Accept fear
Support self
Support others
Act through
emotion
Self-compassion
Compassion
toward others
Acceptance
Compassion
Forgiveness
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
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Compassionate Social Fitness
Disclaimer and Information
I have no affiliation with any pharmaceutical company and none
of my work has ever been supported by an outside
commercial enterprise.
Director, Shyness Institute
644 Cragmont Ave.,
Berkeley, CA 94708
Cell: (650) 814-9210
Director, Applied Research
Heroic Imagination Project
© 2012, Lynne Henderson
220 Halleck Street
San Francisco, CA 94129
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Compassionate Social Fitness