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Sarah M. Kopencey, Psy.D., is a 2017 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Roger L. Peterson, PhD, ABPP, Committee Chair
  • Barbara Belcher-Timme, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Cynthia Whitaker, PsyD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2017

Abstract

This study explores the feasibility of using a mindfulness-based mobile application (MBMA) with psychotherapists, and investigates whether the use of the MBMA has an impact on psychotherapists’ levels of empathy and mindfulness. The study employs a within-subjects, pretest-posttest design in which participants (n=16) completed questionnaires 30 days apart. Between these questionnaires, the participants utilized the smartphone application Insight Timer (Insight Network, Inc., 2016) on a daily basis. Professionally qualified therapists and doctoral psychology trainees currently practicing psychotherapy who have no or minimal experience with mindfulness practice were considered for inclusion in this study. The study generated paired samples t-tests using SPSS to determine if the intervention is associated with increased levels of mindfulness and empathy as measured by self-report scales. Findings indicate a low degree of engagement with professional psychotherapists in the study. Participants demonstrated improvement on overall mindfulness (t(15)= -4.69, p<.001), as well as on 4 out of the 5 facets of mindfulness including observing (t(15)=-4.62, p<.001), describing (t(15)= -3.19, p=.006), nonjudging (t(15)= -3.44, p=.004), and nonreactivity (t(15)= -4.17, p<.001). Participants did not show improvement on the acting with awareness (t(15)= -2.65, p=.018) facet of mindfulness, or on any of the 3 factors of empathy: empathic concern (t(15)= -0.88, p=.391), personal distress (t(15)= 0.41, p=.690), and perspective taking (t(15)= -2.05, p=.058). These findings suggest that smartphone MBI delivery has the potential to improve psychotherapist mindfulness in a brief time period, but does not show promise for improving psychotherapist empathy.

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Sarah M. Kopencey

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-8126-4467

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