Self-compassion break: Use the following script for clients who are experiencing shame or self-criticism. You can also send the link below (which includes an audio clip) to clients who may want to use this on their own between sessions.
Sample progress note: The focus of this session was… The therapist led a mindfulness activity (i.e., Self-Compassion Break). Ct. (engaged/did not engage in the activity), and they reported that the activity was (helpful/difficult/not helpful).
Think of a situation in your life that is difficult and is causing you stress.
Call the situation to mind and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body.
Now say to yourself, “This is a moment of suffering.” This acknowledgment is a form of mindfulness—of simply noticing what is going on for you emotionally in the present moment, without judging that experience as good or bad. You can also say to yourself, “This hurts” or “This is stress.” Use whatever statement feels most natural to you.
Next, say to yourself, “Suffering is a part of life.” This is a recognition of your common humanity with others—that all people have trying experiences, and these experiences give you something in common with the rest of humanity rather than mark you as abnormal or deficient. Other options for this statement include “Other people feel this way,” “I’m not alone,” or “We all struggle in our lives.”
Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch on your chest, and say, “May I be kind to myself.” This is a way to express self-kindness. You can also consider whether there is another specific phrase that would speak to you in that particular situation. Some examples: “May I give myself the compassion that I need,” “May I accept myself as I am,” “May I learn to accept myself as I am,” “May I forgive myself,” “May I be strong,” and “May I be patient.”