In this week’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Professor Paul Gilbert, Professor Steven Hayes and Dr Dennis Tirch. This will be the first in a series of ‘meeting of the minds’ discussions, where we bring together leading thinkers to share perspectives on a topic of mutual interest.

In this discussion, we explore the relationship between evolutionary science and clinical psychology and psychotherapy, why there needs to be greater integration between the fields, the crossover between ACT and CFT, and the role psychology can play in informing our approach to wider scale societal issues such as COVID-19 and climate change.

Professor Paul Gilbert, OBE is a British clinical psychologist, the founder of compassion focused therapy (CFT), compassionate mind training (CMT) and author of books such as The Compassionate Mind: A New Approach to Life’s Challenges, Overcoming Depression. He has researched evolutionary approaches to psychopathology for over 40 years with a special focus on the roles of mood, shame and self-criticism in various mental health difficulties for which Compassion Focused Therapy was developed. Professor Gilbert has written/edited 21 books and over 200 papers. 

Professor Steven C. Hayes, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Nevada. The author of forty-three books and more than six hundred scientific articles, he has served as president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, and is one of the most cited psychologists in the world. Dr. Hayes initiated the development of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and of Relational Frame Theory (RFT), the approach to cognition on which ACT is based.

Dr Dennis Tirch is a Founding Director of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, the first clinical training center for Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) in the United States. Dr. Tirch has been described as one of the country’s foremost leaders in compassion training in evidence-based psychotherapy. He is an internationally acknowledged expert therapist, supervisor and trainer in CFT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Buddhist Psychology (BP). Dr. Tirch is an author of 6 books, and numerous chapters and peer reviewed articles on mindfulness, acceptance and compassion in psychotherapy.