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.

The Compassionate Mind Research Group is Co-Directed by Dr James Kirby and Adjunct Associate Professor Dr Stan Steindl. 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.

If you are interested in finding out more about compassion, you can listen to our podcast, The Compassion Initiative.

The aims of the Compassionate Mind Research Group are:

  1. To conduct scientific research exploring compassion.
  2. To train individuals in compassion-focused therapy approaches and programs.
  3. 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.

  • 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


  • Dr James Kirby
  • Dr Stanley Steindl

Advisory board

  • Professor Paul Gilbert
  • Professor James R. Doty

PhD students

  • Mr Mitchell Green
  • Miss Matti Wilks
  • Mr Jeffrey Kim
  • Ms April Hoang


  • 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

UQ Compassion Symposium 2018

The UQ Compassion Symposium is an annual and key event of the activities of the Compassionate Mind Research Group. This cross-disciplinary symposium is designed to bring together academics, clinicians, researchers, and students from different disciplines within The University of Queensland and from the community, to present on how compassion is or could be a part of their research, studies, or practice. 

The compassion symposium consists of the free keynote address and the full-day conference. Past keynote speakers have included Professor James Doty, Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, Dr Dennis Tirch from the Centre for Compassion-Focused Therapy in New York, and Dr Emiliana Simon-Thomas from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

Event Registration

Compassion Keynote

Friday 7 September 2018 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

UQ Centre Auditorium (220), Building #27A, Union Road, UQ St Lucia 4072 QLD

Keynote address tickets

Compassion Conference

Saturday 8 September 2018 from 9:00am - 4:30pm

Emmanual College, Sir William McGregor Drive, St Lucia QLD 4067

Conference Programme

Full-day conference tickets

Compassion Workshop

"Developing compassionate resilience to help recovery from complex PTSD"

Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th September 2018

Victoria Park Function Venue - The Quartz Room, 309 Herston Road, Brisbane QLD 4006

Workshop tickets

The Compassionate Mind Research Group
McElwain Building (24A), St Lucia
   +61 7 3365 6802
  +61 7 3365 4466

Program Coordinator
Dr James Kirby