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Title: Enhancing self-compassion : the effects of compassionate imagery and the fear of compassion
Author: Gee, Lucy
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2012
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The concept of self-compassion has become increasingly popular in the mental health literature due to its associations with well-being and psychological health. Compassion Focused Therapy is a relatively new therapeutic model which uses a range of techniques, such as compassionate imagery, to enhance self-compassion. Researchers and clinicians have, however, found that individuals can be fearful of compassion, from others and/or towards themselves. This can cause a block to the development of self-compassion and can inhibit the effects of the therapeutic techniques of Compassion Focused Therapy. Objective The present study was designed to explore the relationship between attachment and fear of compassion and the role of different compassionate imagery tasks in reducing fear of compassion and improving affect. Method The study used an experimental between-participants design, in order to explore differences between different imagery tasks on the reduction of fear of compassion and improvement of affect. 189 students and staff were randomly allocated to one of three imagery tasks - a compassionate self imagery task ('self-self’), a compassion from others to the self imagery task ('other-self’), and a control imagery task. Results Findings showed that: 1) avoidant attachment was the strongest predictor of fear of compassion towards the self and fear of compassion from others; 2) that the 'self-self’ task was significantly better than the control task at reducing fear of compassion to the self, but that there were no differences between the imagery tasks at reducing fear of compassion from others, and 3) individuals with high fear of compassion from others and towards the self benefitted more from 'self-self’ imagery than 'other-self’. Implications The results highlight the need for clinicians to consider attachment when working with individuals who fear compassion, and to be aware of the effects of that different compassionate imagery tasks may have on individuals who fear compassion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Psych.D) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available