top of page



Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) was developed by Professor Paul Gilbert. As stated by Professor Gilbert, "Compassion-focused therapy is an integrated and multimodal approach that draws from evolutionary, social, developmental and Buddhist psychology, and neuroscience. One of its key concerns is to use compassionate mind training to help people develop and work with experiences of inner warmth, safeness and soothing, via compassion and self-compassion."

Introducing compassion-focused therapy  (Gilbert, 2009)

Heart and brain connected by a knot on a

The evidence base for CFT is growing as is its popularity. Several studies have investigated the usefulness of compassion-focused therapy for people with eating disorders and those with experience of trauma, and this research has been used to inform the design and delivery of the current group program. Through the research associated with this program, we hope to contribute to the continued growth of knowledge and understanding in this important area, so that we can enhance outcomes among individuals who are struggling with eating- and trauma-related difficulties. 


Ongoing evaluation is important to ensuring this program is helpful for people with lived experience of eating- and trauma-related difficulties. At the end of the group, you have the option to consent to the information collected during the program to be included in research; however, this is optional.

We sincerely thank all participants who have contributed to the research and evaluation of our program to date.

Woman holds her hand near ear and listen

“Listening is about being present, not just about being quiet.”

- Krista Tippett

Below are some peer-reviewed publications that have informed our work. If you are interested, you can click on the titles to read them online.


          Kelly, A. C., Wisniewski, L., Martin‐Wagar, C., & Hoffman, E. (2017). Group-Based Compassion-Focused Therapy as an Adjunct to Outpatient Treatment for Eating Disorders: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(2), 475-487.

          Steindl, S. R., Buchanan, K., Goss, K., & Allan, S. (2017). Compassion focused therapy for eating disorders: A qualitative review and recommendations for further applications. Clinical Psychologist, 21(2), 62-73.

          Goss, K., & Allan, S. (2010). Compassion focused therapy for eating disordersInternational Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 3(2), 141-158.


          Lawrence, V. A., & Lee, D. (2014). An Exploration of People's Experiences of Compassion-focused Therapy for Trauma, Using Interpretative Phenomenological AnalysisClinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 21(6), 495-507.

          Hoffart, A., Øktedalen, T., & Langkaas, T. F. (2015). Self-compassion influences PTSD symptoms in the process of change in trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapies: a study of within-person processesFrontiers in Psychology, 6, 1273.

Colorful Book Spines
Colorful Book Spines
Colorful Book Spines
Colorful Book Spines
Colorful Book Spines
Colorful Book Spines
Colorful Book Spines


This group came about through research that is being conducted at Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, VIC. The aim of the research is to evaluate new ways of helping people who experience difficulties around food and body image, and who have also experienced trauma. 


During the groups data will be collected as part of ongoing development of the program, and at the conclusion of the program you will be able to choose whether or not the information you have provided is able to be accessed for research evaluation. All information is de-identified to protect the privacy of people. We will update this page with our publications and other outputs from the research, so please feel free to check back! 


Dr Maja Nedeljkovic


Associate Professor of Psychology

Maja is a clinical psychologist and researcher with over 15 years experience in the research and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders. She has published over 60 articles and book chapters in the area and has been involved in the treatment service development and evaluation.

Headshot Colour.jpg

Inge Gnatt

PhD Candidate, Provisional Psychologist

Inge is a PhD Candidate (Clinical Psychology) based at Swinburne University of Technology. The focus of her research is investigating the role of compassion in recovery from eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been through her PhD research that this group has been made possible.

I am hugely grateful to have been able to study something that I see as very worthwhile. I would like to thank every person that has expressed interest and participated in the groups or to those who participate in the future, I hope that you find them useful. Thank you to all the people who have provided their valuable feedback to help improve and refine things, to everyone who has participated in online research to help us validate the role of compassion, and to every person who has taken the time to talk about these important topics with me: my supervisors, friends, family and colleagues. Finally to Professor Paul Gilbert and Dr James Kirby for sparking my interest in compassion, sharing resources, helping me develop skills and knowledge in compassion and CFT, and inspiring me to be more compassionate too! My life is better for it.


Dr Andrea Phillipou

Senior Research Fellow

Head, SWAN Research Group

​​Dr Andrea Phillipou is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Mental Health at Swinburne University, and leads the SWinburne Anorexia Nervosa (SWAN) Research Group and the Body Image & Eating Disorders Research Portfolio at St Vincent's Hospital.

Andrea is passionate about conducting high-quality multi-disciplinary research to enhance the outcomes of individuals with anorexia nervosa and related conditions. Her research is focused on the neuro-bio-psycho-social factors and mechanisms involved in anorexia nervosa with the aim of providing better prevention, diagnosis, early intervention and treatment. Her three main areas of research focus are: 1- identifying causal and maintenance factors, 2- establishing biomarkers, and 3- developing effective treatments for anorexia nervosa.


Dr Jessica Mackelprang

Senior Lecturer of Psychology

Dr Jessica Mackelprang earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Nova Southeastern University in 2011 and completed postdoctoral fellowships at centers affiliated with the University of Washington thereafter.


As a Clinical Fellow of Rehabilitation Psychology at Harborview Medical Center, she delivered consultation-liaison services and psychotherapy for trauma patients across the lifespan, as well as for individuals living with chronic illnesses. She then completed a fellowship in pediatric trauma research at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. Prior to joining Swinburne in January 2017, she was an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Seattle University.

Dr. Mackelprang’s research focuses on trauma and injury among marginalized populations (e.g., people experiencing homelessness) and persons who have sustained life-altering injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury). She aims to identify antecedents and outcomes associated with intentional (e.g., suicidality) and unintentional injury among those populations. She is also interested in the use of digital technologies to deliver mental health interventions, to improve healthcare care continuity, and to optimise outcomes among populations who have difficulty accessing services as a result of physical disability, housing instability, or geographic remoteness. Her research involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and has involved data derived from self-report surveys, interviews, neuropsychological testing, and administrative health records.

hands holding red heart, heart health, d
bottom of page