Tim Desmond is a psychotherapist, author, Distinguished

Faculty Scholar at Antioch University New England, and student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Co-founder of Morning Sun Mindfulness Center, he lives in Alstead, NH, and teaches mindfulness and self-compassion practices to professional and popular audiences around the world. His groundbreaking work in self-compassion and mindfulness has been featured widely in global media, and he has been an invited lecturer at Yale Medical School, the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, and the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. His publications include Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy (W.W.Norton, 2015) and The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook (W.W.Norton, 2017).

Support From Leading Self-Compassion Teachers & Researchers

Richard J. Davidson

“This book is an extraordinarily practical and useful guide to the importance of self-compassion in psychotherapy. It is also a ‘how-to’ manual of simple practices that can be used to kindle the development of self-compassion. . . . [Desmond’s] wonderful insights, vignettes, and wise teachings . . . will be of great benefit to any clinician who wishes to incorporate compassion practices in his or her work."

From the Foreword to Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy - Richard J. Davidson, PhD, Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tara Brach

“Tim Desmond shows us why self-compassion is at the heart of therapeutic healing, and how to integrate compassion training into clinical practice. A long time meditator and skilled clinician, Tim offers exceptionally clear, accessible and insightful guidance in how to facilitate deep transformation while addressing a spectrum of emotional suffering.”

Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

Martin E. P. Seligman

“Tim Desmond takes clinicians on a compelling journey to the heart of both mindfulness and psychotherapy.  He offers clear principles and vivid examples for how to integrate self-compassion into relationship-based, individual therapy.  A unique contribution is showing how at-home practices can emerge naturally from a mindful and compassionate co-exploration of the client’s experience. Highly recommended for clinicians who wish to more deeply integrate mindfulness and psychotherapy.”

Christopher Germer, PhD, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy: Mindfulness-Based Practices for Healing and Transformation

Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy: Mindfulness-Based Practices for Healing and Transformation

Teaching clients to practice self-compassion can lead to tremendous healing. This book integrates traditional Buddhist teachings and mindfulness with cutting-edge science from several distinct fields—including neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, psychotherapy outcome research, and positive psychology—to explain how clinicians can help clients develop a more loving, kind, and forgiving attitude through self-compassion.

The practice of self-compassion supports effective therapy in two vital ways: (1) It helps clients become a source of compassion for themselves; and (2) it helps therapists be happier and generate more compassion for their clients.

Filled with illuminating case examples, Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy shows readers how to apply self-compassion practices in treatment. The first two chapters illuminate what self-compassion is, the science behind it, and why it is so beneficial in therapy. The rest of the book unpacks practical clinical applications, covering not only basic clinical principles but also specific, evidence-based techniques for building affect tolerance, affect regulation, and mindful thinking, working with self-criticism, self-sabotage, trauma, addiction, relationship problems, psychosis, and more, and overcoming common roadblocks.

Researchers now understand that self-compassion is a skill that can be strengthened through deliberate practice, and that it is one of the strongest predictors of mental health and wellness. The brain’s compassion center, which neuroscientists call the Care Circuit, can be targeted and fortified using specific techniques.

As clients learn to practice self-compassion, they develop a deep source of calming, soothing, and positive regard within themselves, which makes them more resilient and better able to regulate their emotions. By cultivating the skill of self-compassion in their clients, mental health professionals can help them more effectively and sustainably navigate difficult emotions, transform negative core beliefs, manage states of depression, anxiety, and shame, transcend suffering, and motivate themselves with kindness rather than criticism. In turn, as clinicians learn how to be more self-compassionate they naturally begin to feel more compassion for even the most difficult clients.

Readers do not need any background in mindfulness in order to benefit from this book. However, those with mindfulness experience will find that self-compassion practices have the capacity to add new layers of depth to mindfulness-based therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy is a step-by-step guide for clinicians to build the capacity for self-compassion in their clients as well as themselves. It provides concrete tools—including word-for-word case transcripts and five core skills—to introduce this concept for deeper transformation in therapy.

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"Mindfulness and compassion are available to us in every moment. First we learn how to get in touch with these energies within ourselves, and then how to use them to heal our suffering." - Tim Desmond

Tim Desmond is a mindfulness teacher, therapist in private practice, and co-founder of Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in Alstead, NH. He is the author of Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy (W.W. Norton, 2015) and offers training and consultation to therapists around the world, helping them to integrate positive psychology and mindfulness practices into their work.

What People Are Saying

Quotes from training participants:

“Refreshing.  His ease of presenting exudes expertise” – “ Inspiring; helpful and clear – good teaching style” – “Fabulous, very impressed & enlightened” – “A positive experience and a very helpful one.  Tim is first rate”  – “Excellent presenter!  Engaged the group too which was a nice strategy to maintain our interest!” – “ Very comprehensive seminar.  His delivery was calm and casually relaxed” – “Very knowledgeable about the subject matter.  He exhibited a willingness to answer questions and apply strategies to presented scenarios.”


Use of therapist's own mindfulness from Tim Desmond on Vimeo.

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About Tim Desmond

Tim has presented at Yale University, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy Colloquium, Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Conference, and the International Society for Ethics in Psychology and Psychiatry, as well as to mental health audiences around the country. His writings on mindfulness and positive psychology have appeared in the Psychotherapy Networker and the Mindfulness Bell magazine. Tim was interviewed about self-compassion by the Huffington Post, and writes for major mental health websites such as Madinamerica.com.

He developed and teaches “dialogue-based mindfulness training,” a technique for teaching mindfulness and self-compassion in which the client is guided through a meditation while giving the clinician feedback about their experience in real-time. The clinician uses this feedback to adjust and custom tailor the meditation instructions in order to ensure the client learns the technique effectively.

in 2005, Tim was ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh into the Order of Interbeing after many years of practicing in that tradition. He leads meditation retreats around the US and teaches regularly at Morning Sun Mindfulness Center in NH. In addition to the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, Tim teaches Nonviolent Communication, and positive psychology.

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