What Does Self-Compassion Mean for Individuals Who Have Experienced a Compassion Focused Intervention for Chronic Pain?

Prof Doc Thesis

Limbert, D. 2022. What Does Self-Compassion Mean for Individuals Who Have Experienced a Compassion Focused Intervention for Chronic Pain? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v2zw
AuthorsLimbert, D.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research explores what self-compassion means for individuals who have taken part in a compassion focused intervention for chronic pain. The background highlights the prevalence of chronic pain and how it can be difficult to treat effectively given its complex and unique nature. The relevance self-compassion may hold for chronic pain is considered from an embodied perspective, based on existing research that emphasises the interconnected nature of the body and the mind. A review of the literature identifies a significant lack of research that explores the experience of self-compassion for individuals who live with chronic pain and particularly for those who have experienced a compassion focused intervention. This is despite an established body of quantitative literature that has tested the construct of self-compassion and its relationship to pain.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three female contributors who had all completed a compassion focused intervention. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to conduct an in depth exploration of the data. Three superordinate themes were constructed to reflect the experience of the contributors: living with chronic pain before self compassion; self-compassion as a journey; and the practice and benefits of being self-compassionate.
The research found that the group intervention was particularly helpful to the contributors given the close connections they formed. Self-compassion emerged as transformative. It enabled the contributors to respond to their pain in meaningful ways although it was difficult to develop and required support from others. The research seems relevant to psychotherapeutic practitioners and Counselling Psychologists who value what in-depth accounts of lived experience can tell us. The findings seem to have significance for professional practice, development and training. There are implications for further research given the potential benefits of self-compassion and the perceived need to offer psychological support to individuals living with chronic pain who may feel marginalised.

KeywordsSelf-compassion; chronic pain; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; IPA
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8v2zw
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Publication dates
Online20 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Submitted03 May 2022
Deposited21 Oct 2022
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