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Mindfulness

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 129–138 | Cite as

The Role of Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness Meditation in Cultivating Self-Compassion and Other-Focused Concern in Health Care Professionals

  • Inga Boellinghaus
  • Fergal W. Jones
  • Jane Hutton
REVIEW

Abstract

Therapists and other health professionals might benefit from interventions that increase their self-compassion and other-focused concern since these may strengthen their relationships with clients, reduce the chances of empathetic distress fatigue and burnout and increase their well-being. This article aimed to review the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) and loving-kindness mediation (LKM) in cultivating clinicians’ self-compassion and other-focused concern. Despite methodological limitations, the studies reviewed offer some support to the hypothesis that MBIs can increase self-compassion in health professionals, but provide a more mixed picture with regard to MBIs’ affect on other-focused concern. The latter finding may in part be due to ceiling effects; therefore future research, employing more sensitive measures, would be beneficial. Turning to LKM, there is encouraging preliminary evidence from non-clinician samples that LKM, or courses including LKM and related practices, can increase self-compassion and other-focused concern. As well as extending the LKM evidence base to health professionals and using more robust, large-scale designs, future research could usefully seek to identify the characteristics of people who find LKM challenging and the supports necessary to teach them LKM safely.

Keywords

Compassion Mindfulness Loving-kindness Clinicians 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the helpful comments of two anonymous reviewers, and especially for the clarification of the differences between mindfulness and compassion.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inga Boellinghaus
    • 2
  • Fergal W. Jones
    • 1
  • Jane Hutton
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied PsychologyCanterbury Christ Church UniversityKentUK
  2. 2.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityKentUK
  3. 3.South London and Maudsley and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation TrustsLondonUK

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