Success School – Week 4: ‘Compassion and Resilience’ with Dr Chris Irons

Dr Chris Irons

Clinical Psychologist

Where: 402 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PZ
Date: 25th November 2013
Time: 18:30
With: Dr Chris Irons


Biography of Chris Irons

Dr Chris Irons is a Clinical Psychologist and a board member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, a charitable organisation aiming to: “Promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion”. He regularly presents to academic, professional and lay audiences on CFT and more broadly, the science of compassion. He is interested in how compassion may improve individual well being, relationship satisfaction, and facilitate positive group and organisational change. Amongst other things, he is currently researching the role of compassion and rumination in depression; the role of compassion and shame in psychosis; and the role of self and other compassion in relationship quality.

Chris works for a mental health team in the National Health Service (NHS), in London, UK. In his clinical work, he uses Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT; Gilbert, 2009; Gilbert & Irons, 2005) in working with people suffering form a variety of severe and enduring mental health problems, including persistent depression, PTSD, OCD, bipolar affective disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia, along with a variety of personality disorders. Alongside Professor Paul Gilbert and other colleagues, Chris has been interested in the theoretical and clinical developments and adaptations of CFT as a science based psychotherapeutic approach.

Session Summary

Life can sometimes be very hard. It often involves a lot of difficulties and a great deal of stress, strain and at times, suffering. This can involve setbacks and failures, disappointments and frustrations; we can struggle in our relationships with family and friends, or find it difficult to achieve our hopes at school, college or work. Sometimes these happen so frequently, it feels like life will never be any different.

For many years, psychologists have been interested in the impact of ‘stress’ (in one form or another) on our mental health and well-being. In particular, some psychologists have also been interested in looking at whether the way in which we deal with life’s difficulties changes the likelihood of whether these might leading to mental distress, and even mental health problems. Another way of looking at this might be: Why might some people who experience these types of life difficulties become distressed and overwhelmed, whilst others seem better placed to tolerate them and cope?

This talk will discuss how some ways of coping with our difficulties – for example, by blaming ourselves or beating ourselves up – only adds to the original stress. In comparison, emerging scientific evidence from a variety of areas suggests that developing self-compassion can help to reduce our distress and increase our resiliency in the face of life’s difficulties.

Taking this idea – that treating ourselves with kindness and compassion may be related to psychological resilience and wellbeing – a number of psychologists and researchers have also begun to explore whether we might be able to teach people to become more self-compassionate, as a way of helping to reduce stress and suffering. This idea, sometimes known as developing a compassionate mind, has shown some promising results, and we will spend some time trying out a few ways that we could strengthen our own self-compassion.

About the Success School

The Dialogue Society Success School is a six-week programme of weekly evening seminars intended to help inspire, encourage and equip young people to aspire to and work towards success.

Participants will hear the inspirational stories of a range of successful professionals in a friendly and interactive environment (4 sessions). In addition, experts from performance coaching and self-help backgrounds will provide them with practical guidance on positive thinking and on setting and achieving manageable goals from (2 sessions). Dialogue Society staff will lead an additional practical session looking at key skills such as leadership and time management. The School will establish an ongoing network through which participants, staff and speakers can share ideas and opportunities. Click here for further information and poster.

Who’s it For?

The School is primarily intended for young people of 16-21 years of age, and the Dialogue Society will initially advertise in North London. We hope to welcome participants from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

The Sessions

1. Nina Wadia, Actress

2. Jessica Huie, Entrepreneur and Publicist

3. ‘The Winning Formula’ with Serena Bradshaw

4. ‘Compassion and Resilience’ with Dr Chris Irons

5. Can Yeginsu, Barrister

6. Sam Gyimah MP


Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons

Success School – Week 4: 'Compassion and Resilience' with Dr Chris Irons