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Manifesting Your
Compassionate Life:
A Personal Practice Retreat for Cultivating Your Compassionate Mind
April 03rd-05th 2020 - Barcelos / Portugal

Why this Retreat?
Compassion is one of the most important declarations of strength and courage known to humanity. It is difficult and powerful, infectious and influential. It is a universally recognised motivation with the ability to change our lives and the world.
  • Compassion is defined as “a sensitivity to suffering in self and others, with a commitment to try to alleviate or prevent it” (Gilbert, 2009, 2014). One half of this definition relates to engaging with suffering, noticing it and approaching suffering whether in others or ourselves.
  • The other half of the definition involves committed action, doing something to help, and certainly not causing harm.
  • The courage to be compassionate lies in the willingness to see into the nature and causes of suffering - be that in ourselves, in others and the human condition.
  • The challenge is to acquire the wisdom we need to address the causes of suffering in ourselves and others.
  • But how can we truly manifest compassionate engagement and action in our daily life?

Retreat Aims

Some Testimonials

I thought this WS was very useful in terms of developing not only clinical tools to improve our work as clinicians, but also to develop truly useful competencies as human beings. It is very important to experience connectedness with us and I think that participating in this encounter has helped me grow a bit more in my journey as a human being. Thank you!

Thank you for this wonderful and insightful workshop! I’ve really appreciated your kindness, wisdom and commitment to be helpful to us! In such a short time, I’ve learned a lot! A must-do workshop for all Compassion Focused Therapy lovers. Congrats! When is the next one? Strengths: - The sound research and theoretical and evidence-based approach - The experiential practices - The structure of the workshop by levels of depth - The exercises and 1 on 1 interviews Qualities: - the facilitators: Marcela and Stan - the absolute accessible language - the opportunities to interact and share - the experiential practices concerning shame and compassion.

The WS was extremely enriching and relevant because the facilitators were able to combine the theory with experiential practices, which is not always easy. The exercises were clear and conveyed the importance of compassion to work with shame experiences/memories. Thank you!” “Great imagery exercises! Only important research data was provided in a very clear way. It was great to draw conclusions to clinical practice from our own shame experiences.” Positive aspects: - I enjoyed thus WS very much. It linked beautifully well the themes of compassion and shame memories. I didn’t know much about the themes and this WS not only met but exceeded my expectations. - It provided tools to use in clinical practice - it allowed to learn how to work with difficult personal experiences - the communication as very clear and the articulation between facilitators, themes and practices was great. - I feel it was extremely worth it to do this WS. Congratulations and thank you!

This is a very well structured and conducted WS, extremely dynamic and interactive. The structure flows very well, starting with theory and moving to practice. The exercises were very pertinent and the shared reflection moments were extremely important to understand that we aren’t in fact alone in our difficult emotional experiences and we share the same emotions/difficulties. Many thanks and congratulations for the excellent job done!” Strengths & Qualities: - the presenters were very good at communicating the content and their reflections - the content was very interesting and eye opening - some of the exercises made me feel closer to my patients, by allowing is to put ourselves in their shoes - helpful to identify our own shame experiences and how to deal with them using compassion.

I think the WK was conducted in a very nice and competent way. The facilitators created a great dynamic between the group and the exercises made clear the impact that our shame experiences may have and how compassion is key in working with them. I leave the WS with novel ideas and important tools to work with my patients and for my research projects.
Strengths and qualities: Really enjoyed the practical exercises and allowing participants to get in touch with they shamed and compassionate selves. Also really enjoyed the feedback and contextualizing different experiences in light of the shame model and CFT approach and in the clinical setting. Really good energy and delivery.”

It was important that the WS allied theory and practice since it contextualized the exercises and facilitated their understanding. The strong research base supported the relevance of integrating the theme in the clinical work with the patients. The experiential exercises allowed for the experience of emotions and underlying motivations. The possibility of stimulating this in us, as therapists, is very important as it facilitates the training of clinical competencies and the embodiment of compassion in our lives and work. The materials provided in the workbook were extremely valuable. Thank you for sharing these experiences

Who is this retreat for?

Manifesting a Compassionate Life is suitable for ANYONE.

  • The workshop will include experiential exercises and practices, interactive teaching, self-reflection and group discussions, and will be presented in English.
  • All are welcome - no previous experience in meditation is required;
  • CFT or CMT practitioners who wish to deepen their practice through a weekend of experiential immersion and expansion into the compassionate mind;
  • Health practitioners from any theoretical backgrounds who are interested in discovering more about cultivating a compassionate mind through personal practice;
  • Anyone from the community who are interested in bringing more compassion and self-compassion into their lives.

Meet the Instructors
Stan Steindl
  • a Clinical Psychologist in private practice at Psychology Consultants Pty Ltd, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Co-director of the UQ Compassionate Mind Research Group. He has over 20 years experience as a therapist, supervisor and trainer, and works with clients from a compassion focused therapy perspective.
  • His PhD examined combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid alcohol dependency, and he continues to work in the areas of trauma and addiction, as well as having a general clinical practice.
  • His research interests are in the areas of compassion and compassion-based interventions, and especially the role of cultivating compassion and self-compassion in the context of trauma, shame, self-criticism and clinical disorders, as well as promoting psychological wellbeing.
    If you would like to stay in touch with Stan you can contact him via email Or follow him on Facebook Or LinkedIn Or Twitter
Marcela Matos
  • Clinical Psychologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cognitive and Behavioral Centre for Research and Intervention (CINEICC), University of Coimbra, in Portugal.
  • Over the past 15 years she has done extensive training in Compassion Focused Therapy and Compassion Mind Training, and has collaborated with Professor Paul Gilbert, Founder of Compassion Focused Therapy, on several research projects, published papers and delivered training workshops together.
  • Has developed systematic research in evolutionary clinical psychology and contextual cognitive-behavioral approaches. In her PhD on “Shame memories that shape who we are”, she investigated how early shame experiences are structured as traumatic memories that become central to personal identity and increase vulnerability to psychopathology.
  • Currently, her main research focus is on applying and testing the efficacy of compassion-based group interventions in promoting mental and physical well-being in several populations, and investigating their impact on epigenetic mechanisms and physiological stress responses.
  • She has authored more than 50 scientific papers and chapters on the topics of compassion, shame, self-criticism, emotional regulation, emotional memories, psychological flexibility, psychopathology and wellbeing. She is an affiliated member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation and the Portuguese Association for Mindfulness.
If you would like to stay in touch with Marcela you can contact him via email

FAQs and Practicalities
What is it?

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is an integrative approach developed by Professor Paul Gilbert (2005, 2010, 2014) that focuses on the cultivation and application of compassion for both self and others. CFT is rooted in evolutionary theory, affective neuroscience, social and developmental psychology, cognitive-behaviour therapy and mindfulness. The approach was originally developed for people with high levels of self-criticism and shame, who tended to make less progress in traditional therapeutic approaches, but CFT is now used for a broad variety of clinical presentations. CFT focuses on the cultivation and attunement with care-focused motives, intentions and friendly affiliative emotions to act as inner supports and antidotes to hostile and fearful ones and shame based and traumatic memories.

What is it?

Compassionate Mind Training

Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) is part of CFT, and refers to the specific ways/techniques we can use to help us experience compassion, and develop the various aspects of compassion for self and others (Gilbert, 2018; Gilbert & Irons, 2005). CMT cultivates physiological and psychological processes that are conducive to well-being, and can be utilised in individual or larger group settings. CMT focuses on conceptualising and engaging with an inner sense of one’s own compassionate self-identity, with certain qualities. CMT aims to develop compassionate response proficiency and courage to improve well-being within and between individuals and groups.
The Evidence Base for the efficacy of CFT and CMT has provided consistent support for their beneficial impact on well-being and on a wide range of mental health difficulties, such as shame, self-criticism, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, eating and body-image problems, and in clinical and non-clinical populations (e.g., Kirby, Tellegen, & Steindl, 2017; Matos et al., 2017, 2018).
Furthermore, practising and embodying compassion has been shown to have powerful effects on physiological, psychological and social processes, specifically in the regulation of threat-focused emotional experiences and the development of a caring orientation towards suffering.

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Learning Outcomes

Sources of suffering

Understanding the sources of suffering, especially the role our evolved human brains and bodies, both of which can lead to much of our suffering

Three flows of compassion

Understanding the three flows of compassion — for others, from others and from self to self, as well as the skills and competencies of the compassionate mind.

Wisdom, strength and courage

Deepening our understanding of compassion, especially the qualities of wisdom, strength and courage, and caring-commitment, as well as other qualities we may wish incorporate.

Sense of connection

Developing a sense of and connection with our own Compassionate Self, that part of ourselves that can engage with the suffering of ourselves and others, as well as take actions to help.

Aspects of ourselves

Explore othose different aspects of ourselves that can cause us difficulties and challenges, such as the Angry Self, Anxious Self and Sad Self, and how to begin a conversation between these multiple selves and the Compassionate Self.

Incorporating in daily life

Learning about self-criticism and shame, and how to bring the Compassionate Self to these most painful aspects to what it is to be human beings. Incorporating aspects of the knowledge and skills learned into our daily lives.

Professor Paul Gilbert
The Fears of Compassion

(R)Evolução da Compaixão | Marcela Matos | TEDx

Opening Up! To Receiving Compassion | Stan Steindl

Comer em excesso é provavelmente um dos comportamentos prejudiciais à saúde mais comum nos países ocidentais. O processo de comer é um terreno fértil para explorar os efeitos de Mindfulness. Comer é biológico, psicologica e culturalmente influenciado. Os parâmetros do que comer e como comer são flexíveis e idiossincráticos, com uma vasta gama de comportamentos alimentares saudáveis e não saudáveis. Comer envolve, praticamente sempre, algum nível de decisões conscientes, mas a maioria delas é altamente condicionada, se não automática, e sensível a estados emocionais.

Fees + Registration

$50 “Early-Bird Discount” if you register and reserve on or before March 15th, 2020

B. - Early Bird
  • The rate includes the 3 days retreat program
  • A personal practice workbook
  • Accommodation for 2 nights in single room
  • Friday Dinner
  • Breakfast, tea, snacks, lunch, dinner on Saturday
  • Breakfast, tea, snacks and lunch on Sunday
C. Regular fees
  • The rate includes the 3 days retreat program
  • A personal practice workbook
  • Accommodation for 2 nights in single room
  • Friday Dinner
  • Breakfast, tea, snacks, lunch, dinner on Saturday
  • Breakfast, tea, snacks and lunch on Sunday

In the application form select the Event – Compassion Retreat


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