Compassion cultivation training and its impact on mindfulness, empathy, and compassion satisfaction among social workers working with veterans

Social workers are prone to compassion fatigue while assisting individuals who have experienced traumatic events. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) program among social workers working with veterans, specifically on their level of mindfulness, empathy, and compassion satisfaction. This mixed-methods longitudinal study collected quantitative and qualitative data from social workers working at a veterans center. Quantitative data were collected at the beginning of the program (Time 1) and after program completion (Time 2) using standardized questionnaires. The findings of this study showed that participants’ empathy decreased and compassion satisfaction scores increased from Time 1 to Time 2. Qualitative data were collected through a focus group and interviews conducted 7 months after the completion of the program. The data indicated that participants benefited from practicing mindfulness and noticed they were more empathetic and compassionate toward themselves and others. The implications of these findings for social workers include implementing policies that give social workers time to practice self-care, such as allowing time to practice mindfulness, and advocating for mindfulness-based practices to be included in the social work curriculum. Future research needs to conduct an experimental study that has a control group and random assignment to establish cause and effect.