Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychotherapists-Psychology., Healers-Psychology, Psychotherapist and patient, Intuition, Compassion, Self-esteem, Self-compassion, Therapist, Counselor, Intuitive healer, Clinician, Self-care, Mindfulness, Loving-kindness, Well-being, Buddhism, Psychic, Energy


This qualitative, flexible study explored how traditional psychotherapists and alternative intuitive healers relate to themselves and how this impacts interactions with clients. This study aimed to: (a) expand a limited body of research on the means and effects of cultivating self-compassion, (b) explore the differences between how psychotherapists and intuitive healers relate to themselves through the lens of self-compassion, (c) explore how relating to oneself impacts intuitive abilities, and (d) explore the notion that self-compassion not only enhances personal well-being, but also enhances the well-being of others, specifically in therapeutic settings. Thirteen total participants were interviewed, which included seven licensed psychotherapists and six professional intuitive healers. Participants were interviewed over the telephone about their views of self-compassion using a semi-structured interview. Findings support previous research, which conceptualizes self-compassion as: being kind to oneself during moments of failure or pain, viewing painful experience as human phenomena, and being mindful of thoughts or feelings without judgment (Neff, 2003b). Findings also suggest therapists and healers cultivate self-compassion through various mindfulness and self-care activities, and by doing this they enhance their intuition and improve their interactions with clients. Differences between psychotherapists and intuitive healer's responses were also explored. The results have implications for best quality practices in both clinical social work and the healing arts.




iii, 53 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 46-47)