#44 – Compassion Focussed Therapy with Dr Dennis Tirch

Dr. Dennis Tirch is the Founder of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, the first clinical training centre for Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) in the USA. He is also the President of The Compassionate Mind Foundation USA – the North American wing of the training, research and development community for CFT.

Dr. Tirch has been described as one of the country's foremost experts on CFT and the contextual psychology of compassion. He has dedicated his research and scholarship to bettering our understanding of how therapies like ACT and CBT can be strengthened and further developed by bringing a compassion focus to our work.

Dr. Tirch is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist, who has held many esteemed academic positions. Prior to founding The Center, Dr. Tirch collaborated with leading CBT therapist, Dr. Robert Leahy, at The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy for 12 years, serving as Associate Director of The Institute. Dr. Tirch has worked closely with CFT Founder, Dr. Paul Gilbert, in the development of compassion focused approaches for anxiety, using elements of ACT, which are currently being researched.

Dr. Tirch is the author of 6 books on mindfulness, acceptance and compassion in psychotherapy, and numerous chapters and peer reviewed articles on mindfulness, acceptance and compassion in psychotherapy. He is also an Associate Editor of the Journal for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Throughout his clinical experience, Dr Tirch has specialised in the treatment of anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, addictions, and relationship problems.

In addition to his training in Western psychology, Dr. Tirch has had extensive experience in Eastern meditative and philosophical disciplines over the past 25 years. This training includes work in Japanese Zen and Vajryana Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and other Central Asian meditative disciplines.

The primary valued aim of all of Dr. Tirch’s research, writing, training and psychotherapy practice is an expanding sensitivity to human suffering, combined with the development and dissemination of ever more effective, evidence based methods for the alleviation of this suffering.

Dr. Tirch regularly conducts training workshops globally and serves as an invited speaker for many organizations, such as Columbia University, The University of New South Wales, The University of Hong Kong, The NYC-CBT Association, ABCT, ACBS, New York Univeristy, Cornell University, and the Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist monastery in Scotland. Dr. Tirch also provides online consultation groups and webinar based trainings, and has delivered these for The Association for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ABCT)  and The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy (IMP).

I was lucky enough to attend a 2-day training with him in 2016 called Fierce Compassion – I have been eager to interview him ever since and after listening to this interview you'll see why!

Recommended Resources




Dennis' Best Self-Care Tip

Practice self care throughout the day by focussing on self-compassion.  Breathing in compassion for yourself and breathing out compassion for your client.


Please leave Dennis or myself a comment or some feedback, we’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond to everyone!

Amy Felman

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