Ep. #72 The Power of Compassion w/ Dr. Stan Steindl

Dr. Stan Steindl

Dr. Stan Steindl is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice at Psychology Consultants Pty Ltd and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He is also co-director of the UQ Compassionate Mind Research Group.

Stan has over 20 years of experience as a therapist, supervisor, trainer and researcher and works with clients from motivational interviewing and compassion-focused therapy perspectives. His PhD examined combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid alcohol dependency, and he continues to work clinically in the areas of trauma and addiction, as well as having a general clinical practice.

Stan’s research interests are in the areas of motivation, behaviour change, 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 well-being.

He is the author of three books and several book chapters and research publications. His books include: Compassion in a T-Shirt: The First 35 Scripts (2020), The Gifts of Compassion: How to Understand and Overcome Suffering (2020), and The Gifts of Compassion: Personal Practice Workbook (2021).

In this episode, Stan and I discuss the healing and transformative power of compassion. We discuss cultivating a compassionate mind and working towards living a more balanced, kind, and peaceful life. According to the Compassion-Focused Therapy psychological model, humans have at least three emotional regulation systems. (1) A threat and self-protection system that, when activated, manifests emotionally in the form of anger, disgust, fear, anxiety, and shame. (2) A drive and excitement system that motivates people to find and acquire food, mates, resources and status. (3) A soothing and social-safety system which regulates our feelings of contentment, peacefulness, and safety.

If there is an imbalance between these three emotional regulation systems, mental distress and suffering can arise. People who are highly self-critical and self-shaming may not have had enough stimulation of the soothing system or too much activation of the threat system. This imbalance may lead people to find it difficult to feel and express kindness towards themselves. They may be highly sensitive to criticism or rejection, whether real or perceived and internalize that disapproval. The goal of CFT is to correct this imbalance in the emotion regulation systems.

Check Out The Compassion Initiative Podcast

Welcome to The Compassion Initiative Podcast Series. This Podcast series features Dr Stan Steindl and Dr James Kirby, both Clinical Psychologists. Stan and James are the co-founders of The Compassion Initiative. The podcast series is a relaxed informal ongoing conversation between Stan and James about issues related to compassion. You can access and subscribe to the Podcast on our website: http://www.thecompassioninitiative.com.au

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