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Studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Compassion Focused Therapy will:

  • Provide the opportunity for you to develop a critical and in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) 
  • Give you the opportunity to gain integral knowledge of the assessment and formulation and interventions in CFT
  • Enhance your skills through intensive clinical supervision that examines clinical practice to ensure transfer of knowledge into the clinical setting 
  • Give you the opportunity to receive expert training throughout the course

Compassion focused therapy, developed by Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, is a psychological approach that was originally developed to help people with high shame and self-criticism.

Compassion Focused Therapy is a rich integrative model rooted in evolutionary, neuro and psychological science models. There are also influences from Buddhist philosophy, and the course aims to develop your understanding of the various theories and philosophies that inform this approach. The CFT approach pays particular attention to the key role of the therapeutic relationship and the course aims to enhance the skills and competencies required to work effectively with this model.

This course is for you if you’re in a mental health profession and you are trained to form and develop psychotherapeutic relationships. It may therefore be of particular interest to health care workers working within psychiatry, psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, counselling or psychotherapy.

By studying this course, you’ll develop your clinical and theoretical knowledge in compassion focused therapy. You will have the opportunity to network with like-minded, dynamic individuals and be taught by leading academics and professionals in your field of expertise.

You will study this course via blended learning. This will involve the following:

  • Two five-day blocks of study at the University. Your first study block is usually held in September followed by a second study block in March/April. The first block study includes the introductory three day workshop delivered by Professor Paul Gilbert. This provides the opportunity to meet others who are working with CFT. The second block study week is exclusively for course participants and is focused on skills development.
  • Weekly live supervision via our virtual classroom, and the opportunity to receive feedback on recordings of clinical work via our secure file transfer system. Please note costs for clinical supervision are not included in this course.
  • Regular live lectures/seminars that are recorded for later viewing and will include presentations from key experts in the field of CFT. 
  • Rich sources of data and video recordings to study 
  • Use of discussion boards. 

We’re proud to say that our courses are closely mapped against the health and social care sector. This ensures that our curriculum is up-to-date, providing you with the assurance that your learning is current and relevant. This does mean that we do have to respond to national changes such as government policy. 

How you will learn

This course is based on real world learning. Students will be practicing the skills they learn on this course within their existing clinical practice. 

How you're assessed

You will be assessed by a portfolio, written case study and assessment of practice.


People who take this course are already employed as therapists within organisations such as the NHS or third sector organisations or are self-employed therapists. Developing knowledge and skills in CFT is seen as a valuable addition to their practice.

Visit the Compassion Focused Therapy (PGCert) page on the University of Derby website for more details!





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