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Is Self-Compassion a Worthwhile Therapeutic Target for ICD-11 Complex PTSD (CPTSD)?

  • Thanos Karatzias (a1) (a2), Philip Hyland (a3) (a4), Aoife Bradley (a1), Claire Fyvie (a2), Katharine Logan (a2), Paula Easton (a2), Jackie Thomas (a2), Sarah Philips (a2), Jonathan I. Bisson (a5), Neil P. Roberts (a6) (a5), Marylene Cloitre (a7) and Mark Shevlin (a8)...


Background: Two ‘sibling’ disorders have been proposed for the fourthcoming 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11): post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (CPTSD). Examining psychological factors that may be associated with CPTSD, such as self-compassion, is an important first step in its treatment that can inform consideration of which problems are most salient and what interventions are most relevant. Aims: We set out to investigate the association between self-compassion and the two factors of CPTSD: the PTSD factor (re-experiencing, avoidance, sense of threat) and the Disturbances in Self-Organization (DSO) factor (affect dysregulation, negative self-concept and disturbances in relationships). We hypothesized that self-compassion subscales would be negatively associated with both PTSD and DSO symptom clusters. Method: A predominantly female, clinical sample (n = 106) completed self-report scales to measure traumatic life events, ICD-11 CPTSD and self-compassion. Results: Significant negative associations were found between the CPTSD DSO clusters of symptoms and self-compassion subscales, but not for the PTSD ones. Specifically it was also found that self-judgement and common humanity significantly predicted hypoactive affect dysregulation whereas self-judgement and isolation significantly predicted negative self-concept. Conclusions: Our results indicate that self-compassion may be a useful treatment target for ICD-11 CPTSD, particularly for symptoms of negative self-concept and affect dysregulation. Future research is required to investigate the efficacy and acceptability of interventions that have implicit foundations on compassion.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Professor Thanos Karatzias, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus, Sighthill Court, Edinburgh EH11 4BN, UK. E-mail:


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Is Self-Compassion a Worthwhile Therapeutic Target for ICD-11 Complex PTSD (CPTSD)?

  • Thanos Karatzias (a1) (a2), Philip Hyland (a3) (a4), Aoife Bradley (a1), Claire Fyvie (a2), Katharine Logan (a2), Paula Easton (a2), Jackie Thomas (a2), Sarah Philips (a2), Jonathan I. Bisson (a5), Neil P. Roberts (a6) (a5), Marylene Cloitre (a7) and Mark Shevlin (a8)...
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