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The Effects of Mindfulness & Loving-Kindness Meditation on the Therapist and the Therapeutic Relationship

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posted on 2023-01-11, 14:10 authored by Geoffrey William Newbegin
Submission note: A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology in Counselling Psychology to the School of Psychology and Public Health College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

It is increasingly recognised that positive therapeutic outcomes are dependent on the ability of psychotherapists to initially establish the “right conditions” such as an empathic alliance and “connectedness” for the therapeutic alliance to be formed. Mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations have been demonstrated to effectively enhance awareness, empathy and social connectedness in both general and clinical populations. This mixed method study examined the comparative effects of mindfulness and loving-kindness training on psychotherapists in relation to the constructs mindfulness, self-compassion, and relational connectedness in their personal and professional lives. Two groups were used for the study. The first group of eight participants was initially trained in mindfulness only over an eight week period then three months later were trained in the loving-kindness over a four week period. The second group of six participants was trained in both mindfulness and loving kindness over an eight week period. Quantitative data were analysed for any changes in mindfulness, self compassion, and the relationship with clients using the Reliable Change Index. Qualitative data were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis and major themes were developed for each group as a result of their training in mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations and compared between each group. The quantitative results demonstrated increasing trends for both groups in the level of mindfulness, self-compassion, and empathic connections with clients after the training programs, though significant results were limited. The qualitative results indicated that both groups reported experiencing awareness, and connectedness, both personally and in working with clients after being trained in mindfulness and loving-kindness. Both groups reported experiencing warmer and more empathic connections to themselves and their clients after the introduction of the lovingkindness training compared to their experiences with the mindfulness training. Strengths and weakness of the study were examined and suggestions made for future research into the use of mindfulness and loving-kindness for psychotherapists.


Center or Department

School of Psychology and Public Health. College of Science, Health and Engineering.

Thesis type

  • Doctorate

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


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This thesis contains third party copyright material which has been reproduced here with permission. Any further use requires permission of the copyright owner. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.

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