Supercharging CBT for OCD: Adopting a compassion-focused approach when shame and self-criticism are central to the obsessional problem: WORKSHOP PRESENTATION ONLINE via ZOOM

Registration closes @12 noon on 03.11.22

Description of the workshop:

Preoccupation with harm and responsibility for preventing harm are central themes in OCD, with typical emotional responses being anxiety (about potential harm) and guilt (for failing to prevent harm).  When the person with OCD mentions feelings of guilt it is important to consider whether the feelings described may actually indicate shame, as the terms ‘guilt’ and ‘shame’ are sometimes used interchangeably by clients and therapists, despite there being important distinctions between them.  When shame is at the core of the person’s distress, it is important that our formulation includes shame as an emotional, cognitive and behavioural response and that our intervention directly targets shame.  Self-criticism is a common feature in how people relate to themselves when experiencing shame.  Adopting a compassion-focused approach enables us to ‘hit the spot’ by directly targeting shame and self-criticism.

Intended learning outcomes:

  • Becoming more attuned to shame and self-criticism
  • Integrating a compassion-focused approach in CBT for OCD: formulation-driven interventions that don’t ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’
  • Bridging the head-heart lag: supporting your client to make the transition from ‘knowing it’ to ‘feeling it’
  • Being mindful that in some contexts, ERP may inadvertently activate shame rather than anxiety as intended
  • Interventions for targeting shame and self-criticism
  • A commitment to self-practice and self-reflection to support us in our work as therapists



Bream, V., Challacombe, F., Palmer, A. & Salkovskis, P. (2017).  Cogntive Behaviour Therapy for OCD. Oxford University Press

In particular: Chapter 4 (Beyond the fundamentals), Section 4.4 Working with shame in OCD (pp. 164-187)


Asmita Palmer

Asmita Palmer is a chartered clinical psychologist with special interests in OCD and self-compassion. Having specialized in working with people with OCD at the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma at the Maudsley Hospital and the Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, she went on to supervise and manage psychological therapists in the NHS before establishing herself as an independent practitioner. She trained in Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester, Cognitive Therapy at the Salford Cognitive Therapy Training Centre and Compassion Focused Therapy at the University of Derby.
She is a BABCP-accredited therapist and supervisor.
Her clinical interests are in meeting the challenges presented by shame and self-criticism in the treatment of OCD.

Additional Information

Cancellation & changes policy

If you cancel more than 14 days prior to your booked event, we will refund your fee minus a charge of 15% to cover our administration costs. We regret that cancellations 14 days or less before the booked event cannot be refunded or changed/transferred.

If you wish to change/transfer your booking after confirmation we will do our best to accommodate you if you notify us 14 days prior to your booked event, and if there is space to do so. However there will be an administration charge of £15 per change/transfer.


Workshops often contain clinical material. This is always anonymised as far as possible but delegates are none the less reminded to respect confidentiality.

All that is discussed in your therapy sessions will be treated as confidential, with the following exceptions.
We are required to seek supervision by our professional body (The British Psychological Society or equivalent) as a means of ensuring good practice. We will usually inform your referrer of your progress, but the details that we disclose will be discussed with you. We do have a statutory obligation to break confidentiality under rare circumstances, namely, if we believe that a client is of danger to themselves or to others (under the Mental Health Act, 2001) or if we believe that a child is at actual risk of physical or sexual abuse (The Children Act, Section 47, 1989).

If we felt that it would be helpful to request additional medical, social or legal information, we could only do this with your consent. Similarly, should another medical, social or legal professional request information from us, we would not release this without your consent.


OCTC makes every effort to ensure that this programme is delivered as advertised. However, should a presenter have to cancel, we will endeavour to find another suitable presenter. We will inform attendees as soon as is reasonably practical and, if requested, will offer a refund. In the rare event that we are unable to substitute a presenter, we may cancel a workshop and refund payments already made by attendees. OCTC will not refund travel and accommodation costs that attendees may incur.
All the workshops in this programme are carried out by highly experienced therapists and trainers. The individual presenter is responsible for the content of the workshop and any views expressed do not necessarily represent those of OCTC.
Although highly informative, none of the open workshops or workshop series confer a formal qualification or assurance of competence in CBT (or a specialist area of CBT) since we are unable to assess attendee competency within the training event. However, credit and award-bearing courses that lead to formal qualifications are offered by OCTC in conjunction with the University of Oxford. More about these courses is available on our website

Levels of competence

Before booking a place on a workshop, please ensure that it is pitched at the appropriate level of competence for you. The guide to levels is as follows:


Basic workshops are for people from a variety of backgrounds, who have at least one year’s clinical experience. Cognitive behavioural knowledge is not necessary for attendance at these workshops, though in practice, a number of attendees will have some skills in the area, and are refreshing/updating their knowledge.


Intermediate workshops are directed towards people who already have knowledge of CBT, and experience in using cognitive formulations and treatment methods – for instance, they are able to identify and test automatic thoughts, and design behavioural experiments. Most participants will be using CBT as part of their clinical practice, and may still be acquiring new CBT skills.


Advanced courses are directed towards those professionals who use CBT routinely as part of their clinical practice. They have probably undertaken a significant number of training courses and/or workshops, and use a broad range of cognitive behavioural strategies to work with a range of presentations at varying levels of complexity.

Making reservations

Bookings can only be considered confirmed after we have received your online registration or application form and payment (or invoicing details, including an official purchase order document).

The registration closing date for each workshop is shown on the workshop description page.  Please note that no applications received after this deadline will be permitted.

If you are booking a workshop place for someone else, you must complete your own details in the billing field, but ENTER THE WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS NAME/ADDRESS in the shipping field. If you wish to order items using a paper order form instead of online, you can view or download an order form in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Once downloaded, print it out, fill it in, and send off with your payment [cheque made payable to OXFORD HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST] to the address on the form.


The cost of the workshops includes hot drinks on arrival, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but not usually lunch unless stated. However, for workshops that do include lunch, if you have any special dietary requirements please let us know at the time of application.

Special needs

We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds. If you have any particular needs, please contact us
prior to booking.