DOI: 10.1002/capr.12735 ISSN: 1473-3145

An examination of the association between mindfulness and compassion for others in psychotherapists: A mediating role of self‐compassion

John Lalor, Ali Khoshfetrat
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology



Mindfulness, self‐compassion and compassion for others are often studied among clients seeking psychotherapy. Psychotherapists are also at risk of developing psychological difficulties given that the profession is demanding and can put psychological and emotional pressures on therapists. The aim of this study was to examine (a) the relationship between mindfulness, self‐compassion and compassion for others and (b) whether self‐compassion will mediate the effects of mindfulness on compassion for others.


This was a cross‐sectional study conducted among a sample of 152 psychotherapists registered with the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.


Our analysis found a significant relationship between mindfulness, self‐compassion and compassion for others. Mediation analysis showed that the indirect effects of mindfulness on compassion for others was through self‐compassion. We entered age and gender into our model, but they had no impact on the mediated relationship.


Findings from this study provide preliminary support for a proposed sequential model, suggesting that mindfulness enhances self‐compassion, which, in turn, can improve compassion for others. Psychotherapists and psychotherapy bodies are recommended to utilise strategies that can improve psychotherapists' mindfulness skills, such as the mindfulness self‐compassion programme and compassion‐focussed therapy, and their capacity for self‐compassion, which can contribute to their ability to develop compassion for the client. Given the limitations of the design of the study, future longitudinal research will enable us to document the directionality of the effects.

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