The impact of mindfulness training on therapeutic alliance, empathy, and lived experience: a mixed methods study with counselor trainees
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Proponents of mindfulness practices have suggested that this method provides counselors a means to cultivate therapeutic relationship skills and improve client outcomes. Consequently, a 6 session mindfulness training program was conducted over a 6 week period with counselor trainees (n = 9) engaged in clinical practice. Quantitative data were collected to explore changes in counselor and client therapeutic alliance as well as counselor empathy and mindfulness levels. Qualitative data were gleaned from participants' lived experiences as they learned and implemented mindfulness practices. While no significant change in client alliance scores was recorded, counselor trainee results indicated that mindfulness training could be an effective method to improve mindfulness, empathy, and therapeutic attunement. Furthermore, participants reported that mindfulness enhanced their lives in physical, affective, cognitive, and behavioral domains. Implications for counselor training, practice, and research were discussed.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education.