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Compassionate Mind Research Group

About the Compassionate Mind Research Group

About Us

The Compassionate Mind Research Group is Co-Directed by Dr James Kirby and Adjunct Associate Professor Dr Stan Steindl. The Compassionate Mind Research Group promotes wellbeing by facilitating the scientific understanding and application of compassion. We are particularly focused on compassion-focused therapy and evolutionary models and how they apply to therapy, parenting, leadership, schools and community.

We are affiliated with the Compassionate Mind Foundation in the UK, founded by Professor Paul Gilbert O.B.E. who is also the founder of Compassion Focused Therapy.

The Aims of The Compassionate Mind Research Group are:

  • To conduct scientific research exploring compassion
  • To train individuals in compassion-focused therapy approaches and programs
  • To disseminate compassion knowledge broadly

We also hold the annual UQ Compassion Symposium. The inaugural symposium keynote speaker was Professor James Doty, Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. Dr James R. Doty is the very first Advisory Board Member for The Compassion Mind Research Group, and we are honoured to have him as a founding member

To find more resources including Tip Sheets, podcasts and information please go to:

Current Projects

  • Compassionate Focused Therapy Evaluations
    • RCT evaluating a brief CFT with teachers
    • RCT evaluating a brief CFT with parents
    • Group CFT for childhood sexual assault survivors
    • Brief Compassionate Mind Training as part of nursing student education.
  • Developing the first manual of Compassion Focused Therapy
    • Collaboration with Professor Paul Gilbert
  • Uncovering Facilitators and Inhibitors to Compassionate Responding in Children
    • A series of experiments using our innovative and newly developed “Compassionate Responding Paradigm”
  • Understanding Fears:
    • Fears of Compassion
    • Fears of Mindfulness
    • Fears of Forgiveness
  • Exploring shame and compassion
    • Understanding the mediating role of compassion in the relationship between early shame memories and current psychopathology
    • Understanding the role of shame and compassion in parenting and family contexts
  • Assessing and enhancing compassion motivation
    • Development of the Compassion Motivation and Action Scale
    • The role of Motivational Interviewing in compassion-based interventions


  • 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, 62-73. DOI: 10.1111/cp.12126
  • Kirby, J.N., Steindl., S, & Doty, J.R. (2017). Compassion as the highest ethic. In L.M. Monteiro, J. Compson, and R.F. Musten (Eds.) A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethics in Mindfulness-Based Programs (pp. in press). US: Springer.
  • Kirby, J.N. (2017). Compassionate parenting: The role of compassion in parenting. In J. Doty & E. Seppala (Eds.). The Handbook of Compassion Science (pp. 312-342). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Kirby, J.N., & Gilbert, P. (2017). The emergence of the compassion focused therapies. In P. Gilbert (Ed.), Compassion: Concepts, Research and Applications (pp. 258-285). Abingdon, UK: Routledge Ltd.
  • Kirby, J.N., Tellegen, C.L., & Steindl, S.R. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of compassion-based interventions: Current state of knowledge and future directions. Behavior Therapy. Accepted.
  • Kirby, J.N., & Kirby, P.G. (2017). An Evolutionary Model to Conceptualise Masculinity and Compassion in Male Teenagers: A Unifying Framework. Clinical Psychologist. Accepted.
  • Kirby, J.N., & Laczko, D. (2017). A randomized micro-trial of a loving-kindness meditation for young adults living at home with their parents. Journal of Child and Family Studies. Accepted. Doi: 10.1007/s10826-017-0692-x
  • Kirby, J.N., Doty, J.R., Petrocchi, N., & Gilbert, P. (2017). The current and future role of heart rate variability for assessing and training compassion. Frontiers in Public Health, 5, 40. Doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00040 
  • Pepping, C.A., Lyons, A., McNair, R., Kirby, J.N., Petrochhi, N., & Gilbert, P. (2017). A tailored compassion-focused therapy program for sexual minority young adults with depressive symptomatology: Study protocol for a randomized controlled study. BMC Psychology, 5, 5. doi: 10.1186/s40359-017-0175-2.
  • Steindl, S., Garcia, A., & Kirby, J.N. (2017). A Pilot Study of Convergence: The Science, Art and Spirit of Compassion. Compassion Journal. Accepted 
  • Kirby, J.N. (2016). Compassion interventions: The programs, the evidence, and implications for research and practice. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1111/papt.
  • Kirby, J.N. (2015). The role of mindfulness and compassion in enhancing nurturing family environments. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/cpsp.12149 


Compassionate Mind Research Group Staff


Advisory Board

  • Professor Paul Gilbert, Founder of Compassion-Focused Therapy, University of Derby
  • Prof James R. Doty, Director, CCARE, Stanford University

PhD Students

  • Mitchell Green
  • Matti Wilks
  • Jeffrey Kim
  • April Hoang
  • Lisa McLean


  • Dr Emma Seppala, Associate Director, CCARE, Stanford University
  • Dr Michael Slepian, University of Columbia
  • Dr Sarah Kelly, Senior Lecturer, Director of the MBA Program, UQ Business School
  • Dr Koa Whittingham, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland
  • Dr Amy Mitchell, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland
  • Dr Anthony Garcia, School of Music, The University of Queensland
  • Professor Paul Gilbert, University of Derby
  • Dr Nicola Petrocchi, John Cabot University
  • Professor James Doty, Stanford University
  • Dr Chris Pepping, La Trobe University
  • Associate Professor Anthony Lyons, La Trobe University
  • Dr Ania Filus, University of Southern California
  • Dr Cassandra Tellegen, University of Queensland
  • Associate Professor Mark Nielsen, University of Queensland
  • Professor Ross Cunnington, University of Queensland
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