Compassion Attentiveness Therapy

“You need get out of your head!”

You are certain to have heard this emphatic plea from a loved one or a therapist at one or more stages of recovery. But whether you have fully taken it in and understood how to move out of that busy and tortuous head space is a different matter. People often think of self-care as the means to building healthy life patterns and thoughts, but it’s possible that another way to approach this is to care for both oneself and others at the same time.

According to therapist, Saleem Noorali, LCSW, there is a way to step outside of the noisy mind space and achieve multiple layers of mental peace at the same time. Noorali coined and branded Compassion Attentiveness Therapy, a new mode of treatment which promotes a healthy relationship with self, humanity and all living things. While there seems to be step-by-step widening of a lens going from self-compassion toward all living things as a part of this model, Noorali suggests that the steps are more effective when occurring simultaneously.

“When you’re engaged in kindnesses toward others, you’re outside of your thought loops,” he says.

An article called “A Wandering Mind is a Less Caring Mind: Daily Experience Sampling During Compassion Meditation Training,” was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology that reports what happened during a Compassion Cultivation Training that lasted 9-weeks. In the program, people engaged in compassion meditations twice a day for the length of the experiment. The results showed that compassion meditation was associated with reduced mind wandering for unpleasant thoughts and increased mind wandering to pleasant thoughts, and that both were associated with increased caring behavior for oneself and others.”

On May 26, 2016, Noorali presented at the Advanced Therapeutic Services Luncheon where he expounded on his own Compassion Attentiveness model. “Compassion Attentiveness Therapy isn’t just a therapeutic model, it’s a way of life that needs to be understood and applied by both client and therapist alike.”

While some might argue that compassion attentiveness could cause compassion fatigue, Noorali relies on ancient wisdom to say that “Compassion fatigue is not as a result of too much compassion, but as a result of incomplete compassion.” Self-care and self-love are essential for the therapist and the client equally. Where there is incomplete compassion due to a therapist not taking steps toward a compassionate life, services to clients will inevitably suffer.

In addition to talking generally about the importance of the new model, the May Luncheon presentation also placed a magnifying glass on daily rituals. While people have heard about rituals and often use them to create good habits, few have delved deep into the broader concept of the ritual. The similarities between group rituals, such as ones often seen in AA meetings, and the micro-rituals performed in the solitude of one’s own home on an ordinary morning are astounding once understood in closer detail and can even help people become more calm and mindful. A ritual demonstration was led by Samira R. Noorali, a multi-disciplinary artist, and involved components of music, poetry, movement and community participation.

Noorali has put forth several articles that help both therapist and client to understand how compassionate acts can shatter faulty perceptions and how new compassionate behaviors can lead both parties to flourish exponentially. Read them at!

Click Here to Watch the presentation by Saleem Noorali, M.A., L.C.S.W. and Samira R. Noorali, J.D. on “Compassion Attentive Therapy”