A touch of compassion: ‘We’re creating individuals who don’t know how to reach out to each other’

A psychologist believes nurturing compassion is the key to solving personal problems and societal ills


Paul Gilbert, author of the best-selling self-help book Overcoming Depression, and, more recently, The Compassionate Mind, wants people to wake up to the value of compassion.


Gilbert, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Derby in England, defines compassion as a “basic kindness, with a deep awareness of the suffering of oneself and of other living things, coupled with the wish and effort to relieve it.”


“There has been a complete neglect of compassion in our world,” he says. “For example, humans are a very tactile species, and we respond to hugs and cuddles, yet the fear of paedophilia is creating a generation of children who aren’t touched [by people other than close family members],” he says.


Sylvia Thompson