Intrapsychic Correlates of Professional Quality of Life: Mindfulness, Empathy, and Emotional Separation
Research examining stress disorders provides important information about professional and workplace variables with the potential to influence practitioners‘ risk for compassion fatigue and burnout. However, little attention is given to intrapersonal skills or abilities that might function to reduce risk by increasing resilience and improving work satisfaction, but without jeopardizing practitioners‘ empathic engagement and effective treatment relationships with clients. This study uses a random sample of licensed clinical social workers (N= 171) to examine relationships of mindfulness, empathy, and emotional separation to several aspects of professional quality of life, including compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction. Data are analyzed using ordinary least squares linear regression. Findings show mindfulness and emotional separation are significantly associated with compassion satisfaction and burnout, and emotional separation is significantly associated with compassion fatigue. These results suggest that increased emphasis on the intentional management of internal emotional states may be as important for clinicians as it is for clients, and that professional training programs should consider how best to teach such skills.
Jacky T. Thomas and Melanie D. Otis. "Intrapsychic Correlates of Professional Quality of Life: Mindfulness, Empathy, and Emotional Separation" Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research 1.2 (2010): 83-98.