The Compassionate Mind Approach to Building Self-Confidence

Series editor, Paul Gilbert

by Mary Welford

Many of us have a tendency to measure our self-worth by comparing ourselves to others. But when we fail to reach our own, families, communities or societies 'ideals' this often results in feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and low mood. We may become self-critical, experience shame and a sense of being different from others.

Although an improvement in 'self-esteem' is what we may feel we want this is not necessarily what we need. This is because self-esteem is often associated with times when things are going well but can fail us when things do not go to plan. In contrast self-confidence, built from self-compassion, can help us when things are going well and make us more resilient when things are difficult.

This book uses the ideas and practices of Compassion Focused Therapy to help build self-confidence. Attention is also paid to difficulties that often come hand in hand with lack of self-confidence such as anxiety, depression, substance use and anger.


  • Little, Brown Book Group; September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781780331331
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Compassionate Mind Approach to Building Self-Confidence
  • Author: Mary Welford
  • Imprint: Robinson

About The Author

Mary Welford, DClinPsy, is a consultant clinical psychologist who lives and works in the South West of England. She has been involved in the development and practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for a range of difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, psychosis and self-esteem. However Mary increasingly found that CBT was not helpful to everyone. She observed that changes in thinking does not necessarily result in changes in how one feels. Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is an approach which aims to address this head-heart lag. Mary is open about how the application of this approach has changed her own life and the lives of the people with whom she has worked. Mary is chair of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, and she has been involved in the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) for several years. Working alongside Paul Gilbert, she helped to develop compassion-focused therapy (CFT). More recently she is involved in using CFT within educational settings, with families, staff groups and athletes.