Depression and CFT - FAQ
Frequently asked questions about depression and shame.
Nearly half of depressed people who receive medication and/or therapy, do not make a full recovery. These people seem to have particular difficulty accepting compassion from others, and also difficulty showing compassion to themselves. This fear of compassion seems to be linked to increased depression, anxiety and stress. Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), which is an evidence based therapy for treatment of depression, seems particularly helpful in reducing the fear of accepting compassion for oneself and others.
Humans have evolved to experience the emotion of shame as a warning signal. Shame is a warning that others may perceive him/her negatively and therefore at increased risk of ejection, exclusion, being passed by, harmed or even persecuted. Shame is experienced as a social threat Our brain based threat system activates the automatic response to fight, flight or freeze. All of us have memories of feeling shamed. People who can recall feeling loved and cared for as a child tend to experience less depression as adults, despite the presence of shame memories. Compassion Focused Therapy targets shame by helping individuals shift from a treat based response to activation of the affiliation system including a sense of soothing and safeness.