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Paul Gilbert – The Importance of Self Compassion

Professor Paul Gilbert – The Importance of Self Compassion

Paul Gilbert is a British clinical psychologist. He is the founder of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) and author of books such as The Compassionate Mind: A New Approach to Life’s Challenges and Overcoming Depression.

Today learn about the importance of self compassion in mindfulness practice. You’ll also gain deep insights into how our brains have evolved and how we can learn new, more skilful ways, to relate to the minds we have.

The first video is a presentation by Paul and the second one follows of with a practice session where Pauls guides us in several mindfulness and self-compassion practices.

Also enjoy the third video is a ‘mindfulness and self-compassion’ meditation guided by Choden.

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Show Notes

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If you’d like to learn more about Paul’s books and events go and check out his website at http://www.compassionatewellbeing.co.uk for more and you might also be interested in checking out the http://www.samyeling.org website where Paul and Choden often teach from.




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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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177 Responses

  1. Mandy Humphreys

    I really enjoyed today again. When I did the compassion practice / meditation, I imagined me hugging myself when an anxious episode has hit me, over the last week or so. I tried to send compassion yo myself through being my observer self and hugging my anxious self. I noticed one thing. I didn’t Have as much compassion for myself as I thought I would This is really interesting to note. This is why my mind chooses to believe bad thoughts that I have, when I have an anxious episode. I think I will continue to hug my anxious self in my future practices and note how this may develop a stronger sense of compassion towards myself. X

  2. Mariluz Melis

    Brilliant speaker!!!! He explained in a very simple way, extending my knowledge about brain funcions and body response. Pitty for the bad audio in the meditation….. : (

  3. betsycorrin5117

    Wonderful talk. His contribution to the field is just immense. I also so enjoy hearing the speaker without any questions – the flow and organization and depth are all better.

    1. Mahshid Poursartip

      I loved it too! As he was saying it, I felt so loved and safe. So powerful. He was an excellent teacher. The way he simplified the pathways of brain was amazing. Thanks again.

  4. Yvonne Farrell

    This was a great presentation from Paul Gilbert with an engaging, accessible way of putting across the information. As a therapist working with veterans, compassion building is key in our work and this has helped refresh some of my learning from previous training with Paul. Brilliant!

  5. I couldn’t agree more about Paul being an amazing presenter. He really makes mindful self compassion so accessible and easy to understand. I feel he just radiates his own teaching too don’t you think? He has such a warmth and kindness to his demeanour. I’m seeing your comments on sound quality, let me investigate with the team!

    1. Carol Piros

      I too could not understand much of the guided meditation so I just focused on his calming voice and kept going. Truly enjoyed Dr. Gilbert’s presentation. So much good information to keep processing. Thanks again Melli.

    2. Mahshid Poursartip

      So true, Mellissa. He truly preaches and practices at the same time. Thanks again for choosing all these amazing teachers. You too, radiate a lot of love and compassion.

  6. Shantelle Bates

    An amazing session. So much insightful information, I now have a much gentler perspective of myself, a gentler view. We just don’t realise how many influences there are that can affect us, the most damaging being ourselves. Thanks for opening my eyes

    1. Henrietta Haines

      The meditation was one that I very much wanted to experience. I listened all the way through but could only understand about a third of what was said. I would love a re-do as well.

  7. geneva renegar

    It’s not my fault I was born with mental illness–Rapid Cycling Bipolar One……I am so absolutely attracted to this as I was initially with Dialectic Behavior Therapy…..I prefer this journey as I begin to incorporate some self-compassion into my soul….oh such self-destruction I have known. I now am integrating that I am not defined by mental illness however I can see the advantages now where before I saw none; example–high creativity, high success in creative projects, high intelligence, sensitivity and compassion to others that are suffering or struggle. Self-denigration is a constant companion however I am smiling because I now unsheathe my sword and will vanquish that feeling of worthlessness. Having said that, I have become more outspoken and authentic of both my diagnosis and experience and authentic in every area of my life with no compartmentalization..changing my “face and image” to please different people in different areas of my life. Those days are forever more..Gone:)

    I am incredibly impressed with the organization and implementation of this 31 day “Mindfulness Summit” and I would so much like to know the back-story of who in particular, or what individuals (plural) brain-stormed and envisioned this project!! Melli I can assume orchestrated this project and with great admiration I thank you Melli.

    I am writing a book….slowly….one word leads to a sentence; a sentence into a paragraph; a paragraph into a chapter. My journey is more inward this year as never before and it is no coincidence that I find myself a viewer among thousands of others. It’s wonderful~ where do I go when the 31 days is over? I have bought Ruby Wax’s Book and am possibly more in the near future of the presenters I’ve seen thus—at Day 15. Onward march!

    geneva renegar

  8. Jo-Anna Roberts

    Thank you! I’m enjoying the mix of interviews, presentations, and guided practices. I have read the first half of Paul Gilbert’s book ‘The Compassionate Mind’ that is more the theory of compassion – this has really motivated me to go back to the second half which is all about practice.

  9. Rona Lewis

    I really loved this talk and meditation. Thank you. The way professor Paul Gilbert explains things is new to me, but makes perfect sense. It felt like a hopeful and positive talk. I especially appreciated what he said about how the way we are now was not our choice, and it is basically our ‘default setting’ until somebody teaches us how to do things differently. Could really relate to that.

  10. Tucker Rogers

    i found myself laughing with some statements that were just so true of the human condition and worth a chuckle if you can recognize with compassion that human condition. Having tea with Paul was quite enjoyable and I felt as if his discussion further fused some of these talks on either side of spectrum of what this summit is offering: neuroscience, spirituality and advice for practical living through emotional and physical distress of all shades and intensities. I have trouble at certain times of the day winding down it seems, usually at the end of the day, and Choden’s exercise really really helped me treat myself with compassion in tis effort as well as to embrace who it was I was doing it for, besides myself in that same exercise, making it even more potent. I welled up a little near the end during the dedication and was met with a soothing, complimentary feeling which tempered in a way any kind of emotional wellspring. quite an amazing thing which has been happening over these 15 days.

  11. Paula Santos

    Every day that passes I feel stronger and enriched with such beautiful words, amazing experiences with meditation. Thank you to everyone who gives us such beautiful moments.


  12. Liz Appleby

    What a beautiful talk and wonderful meditation. Thanks Melli to you and everyone who has made this summit possible, it is a fascinating introduction to mindfulness for me, I’ve been meaning to explore it for so long. During this meditation I visualised myself watching my self when in an anxious state and sent comforting thoughts, whether it was just my imagination, or something else at work, i don’t know, but I saw myself as I never have, like I was observing myself, It was such a strange but calming feeling.

  13. Julie Myers

    This was one of my favorite talks, science combined with mindfulness.. I like it so much that I’m purchasing two of Mr. Gilbert’s books on Amazon. From experience I know that mindfulness and other exercises such as Tai Chi work. But, I always love a scientific explanation to really help the understanding of why we are the way we are.

  14. cgshearn0664

    Really tuned into Paul’s talk – great presentation. Then he topped it off by reading one of my heroes poems – Thich Nhat Hahn. I work with men who commit family violence – it would be great to adapt this to have them move from compete to compassion.

  15. Stephen Johnston

    Very informative talk from Paul, thank you!
    Unfortunately like others had difficulty hearing the guided practice and would love to know of its possible to improve the quality? Wonderful summit Melli, once again many thanks.

  16. deb rushworth

    I a word FANTASTIC. Thank you Prof Gilbert for your humane explanation on what drives us and makes us human. So much learning and revisiting past learning in a clear and succinct presentation. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m off to buy your books now 🙂

  17. Simone de+Verteuil

    Yes, I agree that Paul Gilbert’s presentation and explanations are amazing. Was really disappointed with the audio on the meditation. Hope we can re do??

  18. Timothy Iverson

    I really I The other facet that is helpful is if you relax the body and particularly all the muscles that are involved with breathing. I was recently at a chanting workshop and we stretched and did these controlled breathing exercises and my breathing has never been so relaxed deep and automatic as after going through neck stretches, back stretches, side stretch, face stretches, throat etc.. Also a brief physiology lesson about the mechanisms of breathing and what is involved can help people visualize and take their mind off of the stress of having to control it. i.e., the diaphragm is like a big rubber band, many people aren’t aware of what is involved and that the lungs are only one part and the diaphragm has to move all of this space to make room for the expanded air. Breathing fully is an athletic and full bodied experience, according to my College Choral Conductor and while the point focus attention of the breath in one place maybe ” the goal” it is helpful to have the awareness of the whole process I

    1. Timothy Iverson

      Please remove this previous post by me… it was a mistaken paste from another source… my apologies!….

      I meant to say that today’s talk was phenomenal!… easy to follow and wonderfully informative! Thank you!

  19. Donna Bunten

    Wow, loved hearing this explained as having a tricky brain that is not my fault. That sure changes my perception of it all–it’s just the result of the model we inherited. Hope to have access to his second talk on practices.

  20. Robin Frisella

    Same sound trouble as the others with the meditation-lots of garbled words that had me trying so hard to understand everything that the ability to sink in was lost. Had to give up on this one, but it looks like it was a good one 🙂 Paul’s presentation was crystal clear and very enjoyable and informative. I will miss the Summit when it ends!

  21. Helena Saray

    Thank you to Prof Paul Gilbert. He gave a wonderful presentation full of knowledge, wisdom, and valuable explanations; such important lessons. Enjoyed it immensely. Thank you.

    I looked forward to the guided meditation video below it. The sound was unclear in some places, so I tried a second time with just audio and it was a bit better, however, some words were difficult to hear.

    And thank you Melli and Team.

  22. Libby Little

    Loved hearing about how our bodies react to stimuli but how mindfulness can be a catalyst for changing our negative reactions. Paul Gilbert was brilliant in his presentation. I wish I could have dedicated time to practice all of this in an environment dedicated to mindfulness. I am going to make compassion a priority and a practice in my life. Thank you for all of these presentations.

  23. Teresa Gray

    Paul presentation was amazing. Enjoyed the way he explained the difference of being born with our genes and how can not change them but we can change our genetic expression! Wonderful! Thank you

  24. Victoria Kamhi

    What an amazing gift to hear Paul Gilbert’s presentation – thanks so much for including him in the Summit. I was so excited to be part of the guided meditation and was very disappointed – sound quality was very poor, scratchy noise (maybe from Meli’s mic?) – hopefully sound can be improved in future videos. Overall, this summit has been wonderful – looking forward to future sessions. Thanks to Meli and all of the staff who have made this incredible community adventure possible.

    1. patty

      I found a paper by Dr. Gilbert online that seems to cover much of this presentation and has the exercises he alluded to: Training Our Minds in, with and for Compassion: An Introduction to Concepts and Compassion-Focuses Exercises. Hope this helps.

  25. Maria T+Calva

    I loved this session, what a great presenter! Thank you for all you taught Paul! It was so delightful listen to all the session. wisdom, compassion, knowledge, and kindness among many things!!

  26. Maria T+Calva

    I loved this session, what a great presenter! Thank you for all you taught Paul! It was so delightful listen to all the session. wisdom, compassion, knowledge, and kindness among many things!! Thank you!

  27. Jan Osborn

    The presentation was wonderful. At the end Paul mentioned he taped some meditations for us to view but we don’t see them shown on the page – would love to watch those too 🙂

  28. Cerys

    Thank you for this informative talk. Lots to contemplate. I understand the “not my fault” to a degree, but wonder if there isn’t an aspect of choice responsibity at some point? The pitfall of self blame aside, when humans quite intentionally harm others (severe bullying, domestic abuse, pedophiles, etc) I’m not sure I’d agree “its not their fault”. Those individuals choose to intentionally inflict harm, and act despite clear societal repercussions and seeing victims’ suffering. I think that takes it out of the realm of base instinct and into the realm of accountability. “The amygdala made me do it” is NOT a valid defense, justification, or excuse. Anyway, lots of really good information. Rick Hanson’s image of Teflon vs Velcro to explain negative bias is spot on! I had a difficult time with the meditation – the noise was distracting but not any more bothersome than my own internal noise :0 – It turned out to be a bit triggering though, which I wasn’t expecting. Perhaps I need a slower process to recover the sense of safe haven.

  29. Carolyn O'Shea

    I very much enjoyed this video. This information should be taught in schools. I am hoping to access the second video Paul mentioned about practising compassion.
    Thank you Melli for this outstanding feat – how did you do it? ????

  30. Billy Joe+Uy

    I love this so much!!! This may be the most enlightening talk I’ve ever listened to. He expressed everything that I was thinking and questioning about in life in such an easy way. I am up for the challenge.

  31. Marisa Salazar

    I found Professor Gilbert’s talk most interesting and am keen to learn more. I’m wondering if I have missed something? Did he not say at the end that he would make a short video with exercises to develope one’s compassionate self? I don’t seem to find it!

    The summit is fantastic; such a diverse range of speakers. Thanks Melli and Matty for organising it. I am tuning in every day from Gibraltar (Europe). From the one spot I can see two continents, three nations, a sea, an ocean, a bay and a strait. The marvels of nature!

  32. gllchamp2492

    i really enjoyed Paul’s presentation. I especially liked the example of the zebra. He simplified a lot of things which I can find confusing and complicated.
    I also enjoyed the practice with Choden. Most of the sound was okay for me. I really focussed on my jealousy and how to be more self compassionate.

  33. debbie zwolenkiewicz

    So in love with Professor Gilbert! Can I adopt him as my daddy? <3 This was a wonderful teaching, one I needed so badly. This summit has been such an incredible experience for me, especially since I am pretty new at mindfulness.

  34. Maria

    I was hoping someone can give me some take away notes. In Australia the videos come out after 5pm, I was working last night and only managed to listen to half. I have put the kids to sleep and was looking forward to the other half but unfortunately I was too late 🙁

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