Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Susan Zoline, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Margaret Warner, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christopher Chroniak, Ph.D.


Literature suggests that the practice of mindfulness may foster self-compassion within the practitioner. Mindfulness is also associated with increased empathy towards others. The current study explored the relationship between a mindfulness intervention and student clinicians’ levels of self-compassion and empathy towards a mock “client.” Graduate student clinicians were randomly assigned to two groups: one that participated in a mindfulness exercise then viewed a mock client video, and another that did not participate in the mindfulness exercise and went directly to viewing the mock client video. Participants’ levels of empathy towards the client and self-compassion were measured. The results revealed no significant difference in self-compassion between the mindfulness group and the control group. Similarly, there was not a significant difference in reported empathy towards the client between the groups. Self-compassion was not found to mediate the relationship between mindfulness and empathy. There was a significant positive correlation between participants’ levels of self-compassion and the frequency with which they practiced mindfulness. Limitations to the study were the brevity of the mindfulness intervention, the computer-based administration, and the simulated nature of the client video. Future research should utilize an in-person mindfulness intervention that includes multiple administrations. Significant findings from this study show that respondents who reported higher levels of self-compassion also reported practicing mindfulness more frequently. This suggests that a devoted beginner who practices mindfulness regularly can experience positive changes in self-compassion fairly quickly, with no expert status needed. This finding can be used to inform clinical training as well as self-care practices among student therapists.