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Compassion Training Initiative at Palo Alto University

The Compassion Training Initiative (CTI) endeavor was launched in 2013

by Dr. Yotam Heineberg at Palo Alto University.

The CTI’s goal is to find ways to increase empathy and compassion for self and others among many human populations, both locally and globally. CTI’s core philosophy posits that psychological interventions could be divided into three tiers of operation, which can function in synergy, in order to constantly inform and enrich each other:

  1. Expert mediated services (e.g. clinical psychotherapy work)
  2. Train the Trainers; paraprofessionals mediated services (e.g. training teachers to deliver non-clinical, psycho-educational school based programs to whole classrooms)
  3. Technology mediated services (e.g. websites, tablets, smart phone apps)

The CTI offers training in Compassion Focused Therapy, an approach developed by Professor Paul Gilbert, from the UK. CFT training is currently offered to students at
the Gronowski Center, in consult with Professor Gilbert, and the international CFT community. The CTI is also active on tiers two and three, developing highly scalable programs geared towards increasing compassion for self and others, as well as resilience. Examples are shared in the videos below.

Some additional resources on Compassion Focused Therapy can be found in the British Compassionate Mind Foundation website.

As well as in the American Compassion Focused Therapy website.

An abundance of resources on Compassion can be found at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism, Research and Education (CCARE).




Empathy and Compassion – Video Resources 

A TEDx talk by Dr. Heineberg, describing the rationale and need for Compassion, as well as exemplifying the three triers of psychological interventions: 



Professor Paul Gilbert - Introduction to Compassion Focused Therapy at the Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education, Stanford University



Professor Paul Gilbert - Offering a full day introduction workshop to Compassion Focused Therapy at Palo Alto University



An Overview of Compassion Focused Therapy with Dr. Yotam Heineberg



Professor Philip Zimbardo, Dr. Heineberg, and Mr. Rudy Corpuz, a Bay Area peacemaker offer a presentation on the Creating A Partner project, and ERASE-Stress Pro Social, programs led by Dr. Rony Berger



Dr. Rony Berger: Fostering Psychological Healing and compassion in the Aftermath of Terrorism and Other Major Disasters


Professor Paul Ekman offering an overview on Compassion  



Dr. Dan Martin - Compassion: Understanding work, stress and applications



VBT – Values & Behaviors Tracking, an online program by Dr. Yotam Heineberg



Dr. Jamil Zaki on the neural indices of pro sociality



Dr. Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas: Compassion in the Brain



Professor Stephen Porges - The origins of Compassion: A Phylogenetic Perspective





The Majesty of the Present: The Psycho-Physiological effects of meditation Dr. Clifford Saron at TEDxUCDavis





Conversations on Compassion with James Doty, MD, and Thich Nhat Hanh