A Pilot Study of Brief Self-Compassion Training With Individuals in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

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Abstract

Brief self-compassion training (BSCT) is a 4-session intervention designed to teach participants core self-compassion skills. The present study was a pilot study of the effects of BSCT on various mental health and well-being variables among individuals in intensive outpatient treatment for substance use. Fifty individuals initiated participation in the 4-week BSCT and completed measures of self-compassion, emotional intelligence, meaning in life, trauma-related guilt and shame, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Nineteen individuals completed both pre- and postassessments. Individuals who completed BSCT (n = 19) reported statistically significant increases in self-compassion (d = .66), emotional intelligence (d = .58), and presence of meaning in life (d = .64), and statistically significant reductions in trauma-related guilt (d = −.70) and shame (d = −.69). We also found trending significant changes in the negative alterations in cognitions and mood posttraumantic stress disorder symptom cluster (d = .63). We discuss feasibility for use of BSCT with individuals affected by mental health problems and highlight the importance for future studies to compare BSCT with control and active comparison interventions.

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