Loving-kindness: Self-compassion, burnout and empathy among therapists
Posted on 01. Feb, 2011 by James Miller
|Title||Loving-kindness: Self-compassion, burnout and empathy among therapists|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|ISBN Number||9781124164137, 1124164138|
This study examined the relationship between self-compassion, empathy and burnout, and whether self-compassion had a "buffering effect" for a psychotherapist and could protect against the effects of high empathy, i.e. burnout. The sample consisted of 301 psychotherapists between the ages of 23 to 89, working in the United States Utilizing an online data collection site, the participants completed previously validated self-report measures designed to assess self-compassion (Neff, 2003), empathy (Jolliffe & Farrington, 2006), and burnout (Maslach, 1996). The main finding in this study was that there was a strong correlation, yet no evidence for causation, between high self-compassion and low burnout for all three subscales of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment). Furthermore, high empathy was correlated with higher burnout only for the subscale of emotional exhaustion, but not for the two other burnout subscales of depersonalization and personal accomplishment. Hence, the hypothesized "buffer effect" of self-compassion "protecting" the individual against the effects of high empathy, i.e. high burnout, would only apply to the combination between these two variables: high empathy and high emotional exhaustion. However, no "buffer effect" of self-compassion was found in this study.
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