Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mental health professionals' lived experiences of metta (loving-kindness) meditation
by Gearhart, Cassandra Ann, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2016, 136; 10102597
Abstract (Summary)

Meditation is increasingly integrated into therapeutic interventions. Metta (loving-kindness) meditation, which cultivates compassion, is relatively unstudied. Metta’s emphasis on compassion has spurred speculation that metta meditation may benefit mental health professionals at risk for compassion fatigue, a condition characterized by depression-like symptoms that results from paying witness to others’ trauma. The current study employed psychological phenomenology—a qualitative research methodology which uncovers the essential meaning of an experience—to explore mental health professionals’ lived experiences of metta meditation. Moustakas’s recommendations for phenomenology guided data collection and analysis. Semi-structured interviews with 17 mental health professionals, clinicians and clinical supervisors, yielded 58 invariant components clustered into eight themes regarding metta meditation experience. These themes were used to write textural descriptions for each participant, from which a textural composite was created. Structural mechanisms interwoven into the composite created the essential description of participants’ lived experience of metta meditation. Implications are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ahrens, Courtney E.
Commitee: Correa-Chavez, Maricela, Urizar, Guido, Jr.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 55/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Compassion fatigue, Loving-kindness meditation, Metta, Phenomenology, Self-care, Vicarious trauma
Publication Number: 10102597
ISBN: 978-1-339-66279-4
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