The compassion cultivation training program: professionals working with veterans and changes in mindfulness, self-compassion burnout, and compassion fatigue
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there is a projected estimate of over 21 million veterans in the United States (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2014). PTSD affects an estimated 31% of Vietnam veterans, 10% of Gulf War veterans, 11% of Afghanistan veterans, and 20% Iraqi veterans (National Institutes of Health, 2009). Social workers working with clients suffering from PTSD can experience a decrease in compassion, which can lead to emotional exhaustion, physical exhaustion, a tendency to withdraw and higher levels of stress. Growing evidence supports the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in reducing stress experienced by healthcare providers and increasing the quality of their interactions with clients. The Compassion Cultivation (CCT) program was utilized to measure its effectiveness on mindfulness and its effects on compassion fatigue and burnout among professionals working with veterans. Nine participants took part in this study. A mixed method design including qualitative and quantitative data was utilized. Data were collected at baseline and post intervention. The findings of this study suggest the CCT corresponded with an increased awareness of mindfulness and compassion practices and their benefits. The CCT study also suggested an increased awareness of burnout and compassion fatigue and the benefits of utilizing mindfulness and compassion as a coping skill to fight against the effects of burnout.