Synopses & Reviews
In societies that encourage us to compete with each other, compassion is often seen as a weakness. Striving to get ahead, self-criticism, fear, and hostility toward others seem to come more naturally to us. Yet researchers have found that developing kindness and compassion for ourselves and others builds our confidence, helps us create meaningful, caring relationships, lowers anxiety and hostility, and promotes physical and mental health.
The Compassionate Mind reveals the evolutionary and social reasons why our brains react so readily to threats. Because of this tendency, it's easy to slip into anger, fear, and depression, and compassion can be difficult for us. This is not our fault. However, research has shown that our brains are also hardwired to respond to kindness and compassion. Building on this latest research, this book offers many practical exercises to help deepen compassion towards ourselves and others. Far from fostering emotional weakness, compassion subdues our anger and increases our courage and resilience to depression and anxiety. Wisely used, compassion arms us with the strength to pursue genuine happiness, peace of mind, and peace in the world.
This book blends compassion focused therapy (CFT), attachment theory, neuroscience, and powerful mindfulness practices to help you develop a compassionate mind, and a better you.
“With clear insights and easy-to-follow exercises, this innovative book teaches how to develop self-compassion so that anger can be transformed into a more peaceful state of mind.”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion and associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin
“In The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger, Russell Kolts provides us with a novel approach to managing anger: compassionate mind training. Pointing out that we may not have a choice about how our brains react to provocation, Kolts skillfully shows that we do have a choice of how we respond. By calling upon our ability to experience compassion and empathy for others, he provides a number of helpful techniques that can turn anger around.”
—Robert L. Leahy, PhD, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and clinical professor of psychology at Weill-Cornell University Medical College
“This intriguing book will bring a sigh of relief to anyone struggling with anger. It’s not your fault that you experience anger, yet there is a lot you can do about it. Why do we get angry? What happens within us when we’re angry? Why is it so sticky? Russell Kolts gently escorts the reader to a deep, comprehensive understanding of anger and offers revolutionary new strategies for taming this common affliction. There is much here to inspire and illuminate both professional and non-professional audiences.”
—Christopher K. Germer, PhD, clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
“With his compassion-focused approach to anger management, Russell Kolts has produced an important book that will be of interest both to the general public and to mental health practitioners. Kolts shows us how to use compassion as a motivating force to care for others, improve ourselves, and make relationships better. The chapters are filled with very useful thought questions and exercises that quickly increase self-awareness. Kolts writes in an appealing manner that makes the book an easy read.”
—Howard Kassinove, PhD, ABPP, professor of psychology and director of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Anger and Aggression at Hofstra University
“In this wonderful, kind, and compassionate book, Kolts reaches out with true heartfulness to those who struggle with problematic levels of anger. In a strikingly nonjudgmental, wise, and warm tone, he offers a path of loving-kindness and self-forgiveness that can directly lead you to a far better relationship with anger. This can open up remarkable new possibilities in life as you walk forward with ever-greater self-compassion and self-regulation into a world of improved relationships, diminished stress, and mindful awareness. This is more than anger management—it is an avenue toward personal transformation.”
—Dennis D. Tirch, PhD, author of The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
“Cultivating compassion for ourselves and others can bring balance and harmony to our lives in a way we never dreamed of. Russell Kolts tells us how to do this with the gentleness, humor, and patience of someone who practices his own advice and, from first-hand experience, knows it works.”
—Thubten Chodron, Buddhist teacher and author of Working with Anger
“Full of useful information and practical suggestions. Kolts has created a powerful blueprint to help readers to develop a compassionate mindset, make better life choices, and foster more fulfilling relationships. He makes the case for compassion as an antidote to the loss and suffering that anger creates in our modern world.”
—Raymond Chip Tafrate, PhD, professor and chair in the department of criminology at Central Connecticut State University and coauthor of Anger Management for Everyone
“For a long time, Paul Gilbert has been making seminal contributions to our understanding of compassion and how, if systematically cultivated, it can become a force for greater good both in our hearts and in the world. This book offers a deep and compelling evolutionary perspective on the human brain, mind, and culture. It demonstrates how much meaning and our well-being hinge on our innate capacity to extend heartfelt compassion to ourselves and to others. It also guides us in working skillfully with deeply ingrained tendencies such as anxiety, anger, and depression, so they do not dominate our lives and erode our health and happiness. Written with a deep sense of kindness towards all who suffer, including himself, this book is a very friendly, practical, and potentially illuminating and healing gateway to what is deepest and best in ourselves, often completely unknown or unrecognized by us.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to Our Senses
“In this impressive volume, Paul Gilbert offers compelling insight into a key challenge of our time: compassion. The reader will find a conceptual and practical guide to cultivating a more compassionate mind. The author gracefully integrates evolutionary neuroscience, cognitive behavioral therapy, Jungian archetypes, attachment theory, Buddhist psychology, and over thirty years of clinical experience into a book you won’t want to miss. Dozens of accessible exercises make this book especially helpful for readers who want to transform their lives for the better.”
—Christopher K. Germer, Ph.D., clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
Paul Gilbert has created a masterpiece urging us to harness the power of our minds to shape our brains toward compassion and kindness. Exploring the science of our ancient neural circuitry and weaving this with our contemporary cultural pressures, The Compassionate Mind
takes us on a powerful journey into the origins of the challenges that keep us from living life with meaning, connection and resilience. Once we're well-prepared with this fascinating background, Gilbert shows us in useful detail the personal practices that enable us to sharpen our skills of compassion for ourselves, for others, and for the larger world in which we live. The result is not only increased happiness and better physical health, but more meaningful relationships with others, and even a better relationship to our planet. There is no better time than the present to learn these important steps to enhance our individual and collective lives, and even to transform our place in the flow of life on Earth.”
Daniel J. Siegel, MD, clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and author of Mindsight and The Mindful Brain
“Anyone who struggles with their inner critic should make sure to read this book. Professor Gilbert writes in a masterly fashion about compassionate mind training, an innovative approach which is likely to grow in importance over the next decade as the evidence for its benefits continues to build.”
—David Veale, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London
“Paul Gilbert has come forth again with a book about the mind, its unused potential, and how to hardness that potential to one’s and others’ benefit. The Compassionate Mind is a road map to compassion for the self and towards others. It is a book for those curious enough to explore their hidden potential to attain a special kind of humanness and happiness. A ten on a scale from one to ten.” —Michael McGuire, author of Darwinian Psychiatry
“Internationally-renowned psychologist Paul Gilbert has provided all of us with a much-needed book. Written with wisdom and warmth, Gilbert takes us on a journey through the far reaches of evolution to the very depths of our own hearts. This helpful and thoughtful guide to living a compassionate life—for yourself and for others—will be a reminder for many of us that we are all human but that we need to be more humane toward our own troubled selves. Throughout this book, the reader will feel like the author is speaking directly to him or her, and will recognize that it is possible to use the tools of modern psychology to fix what feels broken inside of us. A timely book for a time when competitiveness, materialism, and narcissism have failed us. This book provides timeless wisdom that you can use every day. It will make a wonderful gift for someone you care for, especially if you give it to yourself.”
—Robert L. Leahy, author of The Worry Cure and president of the International Association for Cognitive Psychotherapy
“Paul Gilbert is one of the most brilliant scientists studying compassion today. In this wonderful book, he makes his theories very accessible and down-to-earth. You feel like you’re having a chat in his living room with a warm cup of tea. I also love his easy-to-follow exercises, which offer concrete ways to help you develop greater compassion in daily life.”
—Kristin Neff, associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin
“The increasing drive to find a competitive edge in all aspects of our lives may create efficiencies, but they are cold, heartless, and unpleasant to live with. Gilbert shows how and why this occurs, and explains why our capacity for compassion is the antidote.”
—Oliver James, author of Affluenza and The Selfish Capitalist
The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger is the first book to apply compassion-focused therapy (CFT) to help readers overcome anger management problems and develop new skills for coping with frustration and rage. A new therapeutic model, CFT helps reduce the feelings of defensiveness and pain at the root of angry outbursts.
Anger is most often rooted in deep fears and pain that sets off a defensive reaction, and those with anger management problems may go back and forth between justifying their anger and feeling ashamed because of it. The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger takes a unique approach to helping readers overcome anger called compassion-focused therapy (CFT). Written by a clinical psychologist who has worked with a wide variety of clients with anger issues, this book addresses the evolutionary origins of anger and offers readers CFT skills for understanding their own anger, feeling compassion for themselves, and developing compassion for others, including the targets of their anger. Readers will identify the triggers that most often activate their anger and learn to reroute the habitual thought processes that maintain anger. By developing mindfulness and compassion skills, readers can learn to stand back from anger instead of automatically acting on angry thoughts and feelings.
We will all experience anger sometimes—it’s how we deal with it that counts. Anger is one of the most challenging emotions for humans to cope with, and under its influence, we can end up behaving in ways that create great difficulties in our relationships and our lives. The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger will show you how to take responsibility for your anger and your life by cultivating a new strength: the power of compassion. Based in compassion-focused therapy, these skills and techniques will help you replace angry habits, gain control of your emotions, and improve your relationships.
The compassionate tools in this book will help you:
• Shift from threat-driven thinking to compassionate thinking
• Replace angry reactions with assertive responses
• Improve your relationships with friends, coworkers, and your significant other
• Cultivate compassion for yourself as you learn and grow
“This innovative book teaches how to develop self-compassion so that anger can be transformed into a more peaceful state of mind.”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion
Leading depression authority Paul Gilbert presents The Compassionate Mind, a breakthrough book integrating evolutionary psychology, new insights from neuroscience, and mindfulness practice. This combination of techniques forms a new therapy called compassion focused therapy that can enhance readers' lives.
About the Author
Russell Kolts, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and professor at Eastern Washington University outside of Spokane, WA, USA. He has worked with a wide variety of patients with significant anger issues, including combat veterans, sexual assault survivors, children and adolescents, and the developmentally disabled, in settings such as community mental health centers, rape crisis centers, Veterans hospitals, state hospitals, and schools. While this would be his first book, Dr. Kolts has authored or co-authored 24 peer-reviewed journal articles, including one recognized by Thomson Essential Science Indicators recognizing the top 1% of published articles between 2000 and 2004 in terms of number of times cited by other works (Khan, Khan, Kolts, & Brown, 2003). Additionally, Dr. Kolts has authored/co-authored book chapters and 76 conference presentations. At Eastern Washington University, Dr. Kolts teaches courses on topics such as Mindfulness, Behavior Therapy, Trauma, Abnormal Psychology, and Statistics, and has supervised the clinical training of dozens of students pursuing Masters-degrees in psychology with a clinical emphasis. He has received virtually every major teaching honor awarded at the university, including the Associated Student Body’s Faculty of the Year Award (2002), the Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching (2008), Outstanding Faculty Merit Awards in both teaching and scholarship (2008), the Academic Support Center’s Achievement Award for Faculty (2009), and the Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society) Psychology Faculty of the Year Award (2008). The nomination letters for the student-nominated awards and his student evaluation comments repeatedly highlight Dr. Kolts’ ability to communicate challenging concepts in ways that students can understand and apply.
In his personal life, Dr. Kolts has maintained a consistent, 3-year meditation practice focused upon mindfulness and the purposeful cultivation of compassion in the Buddhist tradition. He has volunteered at a local state prison where he has worked with prisoners in addressing anger using meditation and the cultivation of compassion. He is the husband of Dr. Lisa Koch, also a Clinical Psychologist, and the father of Dylan Kolts, a rambunctious 4-year old. Finally, Dr. Kolts maintains a fairly active lifestyle and enjoys playing the guitar, reading and writing poetry, and various outdoor activities, all of which he pursues in relatively mediocre fashion.