Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychotherapists-Job stress, Burn out (Psychology), Adjustment (Psychology), Compassion, Self-compassion, Burnout, Self-care, Mindfulness, Psychotherapists, Quantitative, Mixed methods, Resilience (Personality trait)


Burnout is particularly a problem among people whose work involves responding to human suffering; therefore, without adequate personal resources to draw from, psychotherapists are especially at risk. Self-compassion is a powerful coping skill, thus therapists may be protected from burnout through the practice. The purpose of this study was to examine how self-compassion is related to burnout in practicing psychotherapists. It was hypothesized that higher total self-compassion scores would be associated with lower scores on the burnout subscales of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and that higher scores of total self-compassion would be associated with higher scores on the burnout subscale of personal accomplishment. The participants were 71 practicing psychotherapists who completed an online survey including the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Self-compassion Scale, and two qualitative questions on coping behaviors. Correlational analyses revealed significant associations between participants' self-compassion and sense of personal accomplishment, and the subscale isolation was associated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Clinicians who were female, had a master's level licensure, and were less experienced also showed significant correlations among burnout and selfcompassion. The most popularly used coping mechanisms were connecting with colleagues, personal relationships, slowing down, meditation, breathing, mindfulness, positive affirmations and healthy distancing. The most effective techniques were personal relationships, exercise, colleagues, slowing down, meditation, breath, mindfulness, and work boundaries. The present study provides evidence that self-compassion practice is related to burnout and supports that future research continue to explore the role of selfcompassion in clinicians, as a self-care approach used to foster long-term well-being and resilience.




vi, 122p : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 103-111, 118)