Never underestimate fears, blocks, and resistances: The interplay between experiential practices, self‐conscious emotions, and the therapeutic relationship in compassion focused therapy


Experiential practices are a core component of compassion focused therapy (CFT). Throughout the treatment process, the client’s engagement with these practices may become blocked, resulting in a rupture in the therapeutic relationship. In these instances, the interplay between these experiential practices and the therapeutic relationship becomes an essential focus of therapy to repair the rupture, re-engage the client in the therapeutic process, and proceed with the CFT treatment plan. This paper presents the case of a man diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, with the presence of shame-based self-criticism, treated via 12 sessions of CFT. CFT was proceeding well until certain embodiment practices and chair work were introduced, at which point the client refused to continue and became disengaged in the session. The process of repair and re-engagement will be discussed from the perspective of this interplay between experiential exercises and therapeutic relationships. Implications for CFT practice and clinical recommendations will be provided.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *