University of Leicester
2015LIDDELLAEDClinPsy.pdf (13.86 MB)

Therapist Competencies necessary for the delivery of Compassion Focused Therapy: A Delphi Study

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posted on 2015-10-15, 15:17 authored by Alice Eleanor Liddell
The literature review aimed to systematically review the effects of compassion-based interventions on wellbeing and distress in adults. Three electronic databases, reference lists and forward citations were searched. Fifteen papers met the inclusion criteria. Study quality was appraised and found to be weak overall. Interventions were predominantly group meditation programmes with non-clinical samples or Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) informed augmentations to treatments of clinical samples. Findings showed that compassion-based interventions could be effective in reducing depression, anxiety and other psychological symptoms over time but between group differences were inconsistent or could not be assessed. Outcomes were similar when the compassion-based intervention was compared to active controls or alternative interventions. Further research is needed into mechanisms of action and with more robust clinical trials. The aims of the research were to identify therapist competencies necessary to deliver CFT. The Delphi method was used to explore expert opinion in three rounds of data collection. Twelve CFT ‘experts’ were interviewed for round one. Data were analysed using Template Analysis to generate a draft Competency Framework and a survey. Fourteen participants in round two and seven in round three completed the survey. The CFT Competency Framework (CFT-CF) was produced, identifying twenty-five main competencies within six key areas of competence. The areas were: Competencies in Creating Safeness; Meta-skills; Non phase-specific skills; Phase-specific skills; Knowledge and Understanding; and Use of Supervision. Overall there was consensus regarding the necessity of 14 competencies and 21 exceeded the 80 per cent agreement level (N=7). Potential clinical and research applications of the CFT-CF are discussed. Reflections and a critical appraisal of the research project are presented.



Allan, Steven; Morgan, Gareth

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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