The research and evidence behind Paradigm’s ‘Thriving’ workshops (written by Tony Bamforth)

These workshops draw on comprehensive primary and secondary research and a range of published resources.

Copied below are links to most of the key resources referenced on this course and recommended for further reading.

The work of Dr. Brene Brown focusses on exploring the concepts of vulnerability, shame, courage, empathy and connection.  More recently her work has involved mapping the complexity of and relationships between a vast range of human emotions and experiences.  Its significance is in the extensive reach of both research and impact.  In particular, Dr. Brown’s work is helping to develop a shared emotional literacy and most specifically to transform our perception of vulnerability; which can be summed up by the quote ‘there is no courage without vulnerability’.

The work of Dr. Kristin Neff focusses specifically on the concept of self-compassion and includes popularising practices designed to consciously cultivate self-compassion.  Kristin has also led the development of an objective scale to measure self-compassion, developed resources focussing on cultivating both ‘tender’ and ‘fierce’ self-compassion and in doing so, defined ‘healthy’ self-compassion as comprising a balance of both aspects.  Dr. Neff’s work has emerged from related ‘Mindfulness’ practices and defines compassion as necessarily including the quality of mindfulness.

As compassion requires mindfulness in order to function, this course draws on mindfulness practices and also very recent research into the emerging field of ‘social mindfulness’ – most specifically the work of Dr. Meg-John Barker and their development of an approach combining mindfulness with critical theory, exploring the socially, culturally, inter-relational and ‘intrapsychically’ (self-talk) constructed elements of suffering and oppressive practice and how they interconnect and reinforce each other.

In many ways, this course draws most significantly on the work of Dr. Joan Halifax, who, in her book ‘Standing at the Edge’, draws on extensive research and lived experience to distill the five ‘edge states’ – five psychological territories of altruism, empathy, integrity, respect, and engagement – that epitomise the strength of character required to take part effectively in transforming society.  Dr. Halifax shows how the practice and cultivation of compassion is essential in order to sustain ourselves ‘at the edge’, avoid ‘falling over the edge’ into harming ourselves and others and to learn and grow and recover effectively from those times when we lose our balance.



Brene Brown:

Kristin Neff:

Caring for others without losing yourself: An adaptation of the Mindful Self‐Compassion Program for Healthcare Communities

Joan Halifax:

Research profile

Effects of compassion training…

Leadership, morality and ethics – developing a practical model

A heuristic model of enactive compassion

Social Mindfulness:



Brene Brown:

…and the hub around the book


Kristin Neff:

Self Compassion

The Mindful Self Compassion Workbook


Joan Halifax:

Standing at the Edge


Meg-John Barker:

‘Rewriting the Rules’ Social Mindfulness zine


Short videos:

Brene Brown

‘The power of vulnerability’

‘The price of invulnerability’

‘Atlas of the heart’


Kristin Neff

The three components of self compassion

overcoming objections

Short video of people talking about self-compassion


Joan Halifax:

Standing at the Edge – talk at Google


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