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True Strength: Working with Challenging Emotions and Self-Criticism using Compassion, Mindfulness, and Creativity

Next Taking Place: True Strength: Working with Challenging Emotions and Self-Criticism using Compassion, Mindfulness, and Creativity

Book this program

True Strength is a 10 to 12 week compassion-focused group therapy program for individuals (adults).


As we go through our days, things can be going smoothly or it can be rough. Emotions can feel positive or they can feel challenging. The inner dialogue we have with ourselves can be encouraging or discouraging, welcoming or chastising and shaming. Sometimes, we may long to feel greater confidence or ease.

In this group therapy program, you will learn strategies to work in skillful ways with the self-criticism and challenging emotions (such as anxiety) that you experience—learning to approach and navigate these experiences with compassion, wisdom and courage.

In addition to committing to participate in-class, you agree to practice the exercises you are learning for 5 to 20 minutes outside of class a minimum of five times per week. The more time you are able to commit to practicing, the more benefits you are likely to derive.

The program includes educational information, training in mindfulness meditation and compassionate mind skills, group discussion, as well as writing, collage, and other creative elements. Participants will be provided with audio recordings of meditations to support their practice at home, as well as print materials.

Many of the program activities are drawn from compassion-focused therapy, especially from the True Strength group therapy program developed by Russell Kolts, clinical psychologist, and from research and resources synthesized by psychologist, Paul Gilbert, and others. (See the book, Mindful Compassion, for an example.)

The group program is best suited to individuals who are aware they experience fairly significant self-criticism and/or self-attack and would like to work on ways to lessen its negative impact in their lives, including to work on building greater self-encouragement, kindness, and support within and toward themselves.

Participants need to have at least a moderate ability to safely tolerate challenging emotions and/or life experiences that may arise. It is also preferable that individuals also have in place support for themselves outside of the group. This might include an individual therapist they may talk to to process more extensively any reflections that come up. 

Instructor: Tracy Riley, M.A., C.Psych.Assoc.

Location: Kingston, ON

Information On the Next Programs Being Offered

Dates for the Fall Session, 2014: Tuesdays; September 30, 2014 to December 2, 2014 (10 weeks); 4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Dates for the Winter Session, 2015: Tuesdays; January 20, 2015 to March 31, 2015 (10 sessions total, no session on February 17th, 2015); 4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Target Audience: Individuals ages 20 and over who would like to work on lessening the impact of significant self-criticism they experience and who may also be experiencing negative feelings about themselves, anxiety, and worry.

Fee: $70 to 90 per weekly session for 10 sessions. Please pay as much as you are able.

Group Size: The Fall 2014 session will be limited to a maximum of 6 participants.



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