New recovery exercise from Louise Rooney MBACP AIP


Sometimes You Have Only You !

Sometimes Nobody Hears or Understands.

Sometimes You Will Feel Lonely and Powerless.



However, its only the old dialogue in your head that is telling you that you are not enough!  We are here to tell you that just the very fact that you are looking at this, the fact that you have clicked on this page means that somewhere buried underneath all the torment is a person that knows that you deserve to be loved cleanly, honestly, unconditionally and it also tells us that you still have even the smallest seed of hope that this is possible.

Self-compassion is about taking care of your needs, its about nurturing yourself in all ways – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.  Its about saying that you are a valid person on this planet and that you have a right to be here.  But for many of us, its hard to know where on earth to start with the idea – I mean, how are you supposed to start feeling compassionate about yourself when you don’t know how and perhaps even people around you are telling that you shouldn’t?!

This exercise is about digging through the torment and
trying to connect with that buried person to harness their power.

Building a self-compassionate mental image is a visual exercise that might prove useful as you start to understand more about how you would like to be treated, what your values are and the person you would like to be.


Firstly find a quiet place for yourself in your day and a good chunk of time – try and make the place where you do this work somewhere that you would like to be; safe, peaceful, inspiring. You are going to try to imagine a new friend, an ally and we are going to call this your Self-Compassionate Image – firstly we need to figure out what this Image looks like.

Is it you at a different age?
Is it a friend or trusted family member?  
Is it a favourite animal?
Is it a more iconic image such as a greek hero?
Is it a celebrity?

It doesn’t matter what the image is – this is your choice, but there are a few important things to remember…

This image:
loves you unconditionally.  
accepts you without judging anything about you.
wants to help you without being tired or frustrated or busy.
is always pleased to see you at any time of the day or night.
will be true and real and won’t lie to you or pretend that things are always easy.
will help you find a new perspective without questioning your judgement or
dismissing your fears and worries.
understands and knows you and knows what has happened.  
is on your side always.


Now – write, paint, sketch, draw, speak, sing, sign, sculpt the finer details of your compassionate image.
What do they look like?
What are their eyes like?  
What expression do they have on their face?
What are they wearing?
What do they smell like?
What is their tone of voice?  
How do they greet you?
How do you feel when you are in their presence?
What are their values?  
What is important to this Image about you?  
What does this Image want for you?

The idea is that in times of distress, fear, anxiety and worry you can mentally call upon this new ally to do whatever you need them to do to stay strong.  For example, if you feel you are having a panic attack, this new friend can come and help you breath until it passes. If you feel that your trust has been broken and you have made a bad judgement, this Image can help you see things from a new perspective, taking away all your self-criticism.  If you feel frightened, this Image can come and either distract you, or metaphorically hold you.  If you are trying to change something in yourself, this Image can come and remind you about what inspired you so that you stay resolved. If you have a difficult thing to do then your Image can walk alongside you.  All you need to do to bring them into your minds eye is to stop, close your eyes, breath and visualise them walking in to greet you.

Have a go and if you feel that you would like to post your images or support please do so that others can harness the power of their self-compassionate Image.  Some of us have been happy to show you ours if you think that this will help inspire you.

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