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31-03-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2016

Mindfulness 3/2016

Experiences of Changes in Self-Compassion Following Mindfulness-Based Intervention with a Cancer Population

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2016
Kylie L’Estrange, Ladislav Timulak, Louise Kinsella, Paul D’Alton


Research over the past decade has consistently identified self-compassion as correlated with a variety of indicators of psychological wellbeing, and as increasing through mindfulness-based interventions (MBI). The potential processes linking MBI with enhanced self-compassion outcomes are less clear however. This study qualitatively explored experiences of changes in self-relating, in particular self-compassion, following MBI for individuals who had undergone cancer treatment. Ten participants were interviewed 4–6 weeks following MBI. Transcripts were analysed using a descriptive-interpretive approach. The results were captured under three domains: shifts in relating to self and others (i.e., releasing from pressured driving of the self; reducing absorption in negative self-relating cycles; enhancing connection with self and others; and asserting boundaries with others); experiences of self-compassion (i.e., prioritising time for the self; being less pressurising towards the self; accounting for own needs in relationships; and systemic influences impacting self-compassion); and processes which potentially facilitate changes in self-compassion (i.e., facing vulnerabilities; group identification; and facilitator guidance). Descriptions of shifts in pressured driving and interpersonal relating extend current understanding of the experience of self-compassion and MBI. Areas for future research are proposed, including a greater focus on the role of facilitators and on the interpersonal implications of self-compassion.

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