The Buddhist practice of mindfulness is a rapidly growing area of psychological research. Mindfulness contributes to stronger therapeutic alliances (Ryan, Safran, Doran, & Muran, 2012; Safran, Muran, Samstag, & Winston, 2005; Wexler, 2006) and provides a key component in many empirically validated treatments (Baer, 2003). More recently, research has demonstrated that therapists who practice mindfulness may have enhanced skills associated with more effective therapy (Martin, 1997) and report greater satisfaction with their own work (Aiken, 2006). In one study, clients with therapists trained in mindfulness reported significantly greater satisfaction with therapy (Grepmair et al., 2007). The present study is a program evaluation of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy's Certificate Program. This 9-month continuing education program for mental health professionals teaches mindfulness meditation and how to apply Buddhist concepts of health and suffering in the clinical encounter. This study aimed to assess how well the Certificate Program was meeting its main objectives: that participants experience significant increases in self-compassion, mindfulness, empathy, and professional quality of life. The present study took place over three consecutive years including a pilot study the first year followed by the collection of pre and post course data from two cohorts of participants. The pilot consisted of an open-ended questionnaire to identify appropriate self-report measures for data collection. From this data, four self-report measures were given to the two sequential program cohorts: mindfulness as assessed by the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2003), professional satisfaction and burnout were assessed with the Professional Quality of Life scale (ProQOL; Stamm, 2002), self-compassion was assessed with the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS; Neff, 2003), and empathy was assessed with the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1983). The study found participants from the 2 combined cohorts reported statistically significant improvements in mindfulness and self-compassion and significant reductions in burnout. While the study suffered from a small sample size, further research could replicate these findings with larger samples and longitudinal designs in which a six-month follow-up data could assess if the results of the program were sustained.
|School||THE WRIGHT INSTITUTE|
|Subjects||Psychology; Clinical psychology|
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