Book Review

The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert

Star rating 4 stars

Date of review: July 6, 2022

Paul Gilbert’s ‘The Compassionate Mind’ is a comprehensive work full of ways to cultivate deep self-compassion. Not only does he discuss the science behind self-compassion and the benefits of cultivating it, but he also provides practical exercises readers can do to build up a personal practice themselves.

I frequently recommend this book to my own clients in therapy: I love how creative Gilbert is in his exploration of the subject. Specifically, I appreciate how he encourages the reader to explore the subject matter through their imaginations. For example, he’ll ask them to envision themselves as compassionate figures with compassionate qualities, to conjure up safe places, and to imagine themselves embodying the qualities of a “compassionate other”. In order to create a safer, more compassionate world, we need to be able to “see” it in our mind’s eye first, so I found these exercises instructive and useful to making something that could remain vague or ephemeral, into something very real and customised to the individual’s own tastes and experiences.

In a world, where there is so much suffering that happens to us beyond our control, the ability to be kind to ourselves is both, highly necessary, and something we can control: Gilbert’s book is a great guide to teach us how to challenge and transform self-criticism, and cultivate self-compassion.

The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert is available to purchase on Amazon UK