The effects of compassionate mind training on student psychotherapists

Elaine Beaumont, Gillian Rayner, Mark Durkin, Gosia Bowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine pre and post outcome measures following a course of Compassionate Mind Training (CMT). Participants were students enrolled on a Post Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBP). The aim of the research was to explore whether CMT would increase self-compassion, compassion for others, dispositional empathy and reduce self-critical judgement. 

Design/methodology/approach: In total, 21 participants who had enrolled on the CBP programme took part in the study. Data were collected using the self-compassion scale, interpersonal reactivity index, and the compassion for others scale. 

Findings: Results reveal an overall statistically significant increase in self-compassion scores and statistically significant reduction in self-critical judgement scores post training. There was no statistically significant difference post training on the interpersonal reactivity index or the compassion for others scale. Research limitations/implications: CMT training may help students develop healthy coping strategies, which they can use to balance their affect regulation systems when faced with organisational, placement, client, academic, personal and supervision demands. Further research and longitudinal studies, using larger sample sizes are needed to explore if cultivating compassion whilst on psychotherapy training helps students build resilience and provide a barrier against empathic distress fatigue, compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout. Practical implications: Incorporating CMT into a CBP programme may bring changes in student levels of self-compassion and self-critical judgement. Originality/value: This inaugural study examines whether incorporating CMT into a CBP programme impacts on students levels of compassion, dispositional empathy and self-critical judgement. The findings from this preliminary study suggest the potential benefits of training students in compassion focused practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive behavioural psychotherapy
  • Compassion focused therapy
  • Compassionate mind training
  • Education
  • Mental health training
  • Psychotherapy training demands
  • Self-compassion


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