Sustain the fire

The science and practice of sustainable care for the self and others.

Following the success of New Zealand’s first ever compassion in healthcare conference in 2019, this second conference brings together scientific and clinical experts from New Zealand and overseas.  This event is focused on the importance of caring for the self in the helping professions and the links between self-care and the capacity to care for others.  Speakers have been carefully curated to inspire, teach and share lessons in compassion in day to day clinical practice. The 2018 conference sold out and this event is likely to be no less popular.

This event will benefit doctors, nurses, medical students, paramedics, social workers, psychologists, therapists, allied health providers and anyone involved in the caring profession. Certificates of attendance (continuing professional education) to document hours attended will be provided. Outside of NZ, please ask your professional regulatory council/ body if they will accept certification from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences of the University of Auckland.

2021 Conference International Keynote Speaker

2021 Conference Speakers

Conference Schedule

27 MAR 2021

Saturday 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 102

8:30-8:35amAss. Prof. Andy Wearn (Head of Medical Program, UOA) Opening Welcome
8:35-9:30amProf. Paul GilbertINTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE:
Enhancing compassion in healthcare
Dr. Fiona MoirWhat does self-care really mean?
10:00-10:30amDr. Anna FriisKindness matters: caring for the carer
10:30-11:00amDr. James KirbyWhy are we afraid to care?
11:00-11:30amMORNING TEA
Tony Fernando’s Rapid Fire Research papers
11:30am-12:30pmDr. Jeffrey KimA biological take on compassion
Dr. Lisa ReynoldsFighting the flinch
Ms. Jennifer Brenton-PetersCompassion, stress, and unhealthy eating
Ms. Alina PavlovaWhat do we actually know about the predictors of care?
1:30-3:00pmDr. James KirbyINTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP:
Managing the self-critic
3:00-3:30pmProf. Nathan Consedine & Ms. Sophie BaguleyStrategies to maintain compassion (and the self)

Click here to view information on car parking

Sunday Workshops

28 MAR 2020

Sunday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023

Concurrent Workshops: 9:00am - 12:00pm
Workshop 1:
Dr Fiona Moir
Enhancing wellbeing by tackling burnout
Workshop 2:
Dr. Anna Friis
Self-compassionate practice at the frontline

Sunday 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Virtual Workshop
Online only

Virtual Workshop: 1:00pm-4:00pm
Workshop 3: Dr. James KirbyWhat are the fears of compassion and how to work with them

2021 Conference Speaker Bios

International Keynote Speaker, Paul Gilbert

Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and is a Visiting Professor at The University of Queensland, Australia.  After obtaining his PhD is 1980, Paul was an NHS Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Derbyshire Health Care Foundation Trust until his retirement (1989-2016). He has researched evolutionary approaches to psychopathology for over 40 years with a focus on shame and the treatment of shame-based difficulties – for which compassion focused therapy was developed. He was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1993 and President of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy in 2003. He was an invited expert member for the first British Governments’ NICE guidelines for depression, and has written/edited 23 books and over 300 publications. In 2006 he established the Compassionate Mind Foundation, a charity with the mission statement “to promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion”. He was awarded an OBE in March 2011.

Check out Paul on Twitter @ProfPaulGilbert or the Compassionate Mind website.

Anna Friis

Self-compassion at the Frontline

Dr. Anna Friis is a health psychologist working with private clients at her Ponsonby clinic, and has a deep personal commitment to the practise of mindfulness and self-compassion.  Her own research showed training in self-compassion improved both mental and physical health in diabetes patients. She is now regularly invited to speak and teach on this topic to audiences throughout New Zealand and overseas. She is a certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), a devoted yogini, and once had another life as a corporate go-getter, specialising in crisis management.

Self-compassion is not just self-care and neither is it a sign of weakness or self-indulgence. It is a potent practise that enables us to stay afloat when life is difficult, to flourish and be happy in spite of life’s inevitable challenges.   For those working on the frontlines of health care in New Zealand, it is a state of being that helps us to care for others while at the same time caring for ourselves; an evidence-based buffer against burn-out and empathic distress. Anna will share stories and practises from the frontline; how self-compassion helps us to know what we need, and to maintain equilibrium and warm-hearted connection with ourselves and others, whatever life’s circumstance.

James Kirby

Dr James Kirby is Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Queensland and a Clinical Psychologist as well as Visiting Fellow at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford and an Honorary Member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation in the UK.  His research is focused on compassion, with specific interests in compassion focused therapy, measuring compassion, compassion in children, fears about compassion, and interventions.  In this talk, James will discuss how our fears about compassion may interfere with the capacity to care for both others and ourselves.  As he notes, many see compassion as soft, weak or indulgent. Some will see compassion as “letting people off the hook” for the bad things they have done, and others will see ‘tough love’ as an important strategy to help with setbacks and disappointments.  Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Tony Fernando

Dr Tony Fernando is a psychiatrist and sleep specialist with a long-standing interest in compassion. He has published academic papers in sleep medicine, mindfulness and medical compassion. He has been awarded multiple teaching awards by medical students and the Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences in Auckland. In 2012, he was awarded by President Aquino of the Philippines for his services to sleep medicine and medical education.

In 2015, he received the Chair’s award by the New Zealand Medical Association, the highest recognition given by the association to any doctor in New Zealand for his work on doctor’s wellbeing. In January of 2017, he received temporary ordination as a Buddhist monk in Myanmar. He is in the final stages of his PhD at the University of Auckland, studying compassion in medicine.

Jennifer Brenton-Peters

RD Registered Dietitian (Canada), MA Health Promotion, PhD Candidate Health Psychology
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand

We all can find comfort in food. What kind of food do you reach for when you are feeling stressed? If you go for sweet treats or savoury chips, you are not alone.  Stress can motivate the consumption of foods that make us feel good (in the moment), foods that provide immediate comfort. In the long-term, however, the over-consumption of high fat, high sugar foods can lead to health problems. In this talk, Jennifer will present data from a recent experimental study investigating whether self-compassion can reduce the tendency for stress to trigger poorer dietary choices.

Fiona Moir

Dr Fiona Moir.  We hear about ‘work-life balance, self-care and resilience-building’ and wonder how we are meant to achieve that whilst working in an overloaded system. The evidence is clear that the way we look after ourselves affects the way we look after others. But what are the factors that promote wellbeing in the workplace, and what can we do about them? This talk will focus on the small steps you can take to care for yourself and for those around you.  It will ask you to consider how you prioritise your own wellbeing and will give you some ideas about how to enhance it. It can be challenging to focus on ourselves; however it is possible to succeed by driving yourself with kindness instead of criticism, and to adopt strategies that can help you adopt a happier and healthier approach to life. 

Lisa Reynolds

Lisa Reynolds is a Health Psychologist who has worked clinically with cancer patients providing psychological intervention for many years. She currently works in the Department of Psychological Medicine at The University of Auckland where she is Director of the Health Psychology Practitioner Programme training intern psychologists en route to registration as psychologists. Her research has investigated the role of emotion, avoidance, stigmatisation, disfigurement, and the potential for compassion to make a difference in cancer contexts. In this presentation, she will report on the results of an online experiment that investigated whether induced compassion helped mitigate disengagement among healthcare providers in scenarios where patients presented with challenging features.

Nathan Consedine

Prof. Nathan Consedine, Ph.D. is health psychologist in the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland.  By training, he is an experimental emotion and emotion regulation researcher, studying how emotions impact physical health. By inclination, however, he a long-term skeptic, cynic, and iconoclast.  He struggles to be mindful, believes in sustainable living, and tries to be nice to other people. Professionally, he coordinates a large research program, supervising numerous clinician and student researchers examining how patient, physician, clinical and environmental factors impact medical compassion.  He has published more than 150 scientific works and is an Associate Editor and reviewer for numerous international journals.  He enjoys fishing, playing with his son, and listening to the sort of music that his colleagues dislike.

Sophie Baguley

Sophie Baguley is a master’s student in Health Psychology in the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland.  She has been leading a project that seeks to move research beyond a focus on the factors that interfere with compassion by simply asking participants in the 2019 Compassion in Healthcare Conference how they maintain compassion for their patients.  In the study, the responses of 151 professionals were coded and descritp, suggesting a complex mixture of internal versus external and self-focused versus patient focused strategies.  To our knowledge, this is the first ever study that seeks to identify and characterise the strategies healthcare professionals report utilising to maintain compassion; I am excited to share these findings with you.

Jeffrey Kim

Jeffrey Kim is a PhD candidate investigating the neurophysiological basis of compassion at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. With techniques such as fMRI, Jeffrey’s mission is to understand the neural pathways which underlie generation and regulation of pain, emotion, and mood with compassion, in both health and depression. In this presentation, he will report on his fMRI meta-analysis and review of compassion neuroimaging, the first research to synthesize via coordinates-based analysis regions of shared activation under compassion.

Alina Pavlova

Alina Pavlova is a Health Psychology PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. Alina’s research is focused on the determinants of medical compassion. Her goal is to study the transactional nature of physician compassion investigating relationships between personal, organisational, and patient-related factors impacting care. Ultimately, Alina is committed to creating multilevel interventions designed to enhance care at both physician and organisational levels. In this presentation, Alina will share her first findings about what we actually know about the predictors of care.