Compassion-Focused Therapy for Eating Disorder Recovery

  Blog, Compassion-Focused Therapy, video

Heather Russo, LMFT, CEDS-S (she/her), Chief Clinical Officer for Alsana, explains how Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is utilized to help eating disorder clients struggling with shame and self-criticism.

What is Compassion-Focused Therapy?

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic approach that supports clients’ ability to practice self-compassion and compassion for others. This method can be highly effective in addressing shame and self-criticism in eating disorder clients. Research also suggests that CFT may be effective in treating common co-occurring mental health conditions, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use disorders
  • Body image dissatisfaction
  • Trauma
  • PTSD

Compassion-Focused Therapy at Alsana

The Therapeutic component of Alsana’s Adaptive Care Model® focuses on:

  • Nurturing stronger, healthier relationships
  • Data-driven practices that treat the whole person – not just their eating disorder.
  • Educating clients and their family members about the biological and neurological differences in individuals with eating disorders.
  • Providing ongoing support for more seamless transitions after treatment

Alsana’s therapy program utilizes multiple modalities – including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)  – to address clients’ unique recovery needs. CFT is uniquely well-suited to help clients move from a de-shaming, de-blaming place to a space rooted in compassion and mindfulness.

Alsana began utilizing CFT in 2022 under Heather Russo’s leadership.

Compassion-Focused Therapy promotes mental and emotional healing by helping clients replace internalized shame and self-criticism with acceptance and self-compassion. It also aids in the cultivation of mood management and relational skills and is proven effective not only in the treatment of eating disorders but also in treating common comorbidities such as anxiety and depression. “Alsana’s mission to expand access to holistic, transdiagnostic, and evidence-based eating disorder treatment is supported by our commitment to data-driven care and a culture that cultivates compassion,” said Heather Russo, Chief Clinical Officer for Alsana. “And, as a community of care providers, I believe we must strive to embody the compassion and self-compassion we want for our clients.” KEEP READING

More on CFT

Compassion-Focused Imagery for Eating Disorder Recovery

Therapeutic Care at Alsana


  • Frostadottir A.D., Dorjee D. (2019) Effects of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) on Symptom Change, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Rumination in Clients With Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. Frontiers in Psychology. 2019 May 17;10:1099. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.0109
  • Leaviss J, Uttley L. Psychotherapeutic benefits of compassion-focused therapy: an early systematic review. Psychol Med. 2015 Apr;45(5):927-45. doi: 10.1017/S0033291714002141. Epub 2014 Sep 12. PMID: 25215860; PMCID: PMC4413786.
  • Gilbert, Paul (2009) Introducing compassion-focused therapy. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment;15(3):199-208. doi: 10.1192/apt.bp.107.005264

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