• Embedding compassionate micro skills of communication in higher education: implementation with psychology undergraduates

      Harvey, Caroline; Maratos, Frances; Montague, Jane; Gale, Maggie; Gilbert, Theo; Clark, Karen; University of Derby; University of Hertfordshire (British Psychological Society, 2020-09-01)
      Many students struggle with group-based assessments. The pedagogic approach of the ‘compassionate micro skills of communication’ (CMSC) aims to equip students with the skills necessary to work effectively in group settings. To this end, students studying on a core psychology module involving group-work, received structured CMSC learning in seminars. Following its implementation, analysis of data from four student and one staff focus groups, using thematic analysis, indicated support for the pedagogic approach. Four themes emerged: the use of CMSC for addressing unhelpful group behaviours; employing helpful group behaviours; enhancing inclusivity; and areas for CMSC improvement and roll out. Quantitative data collection is still on-going and will be reported elsewhere. However, our preliminary analysis of the qualitative data provides good support for utilising a CMSC pedagogic approach in Higher Education regarding both its efficacy and potential positive impact.
    • Evaluation of a compassionate mind training intervention with school teachers and support staff

      Maratos, Frances; Montague, Jane; Ashra, Hajra; Welford, Mary; Wood, Wendy; Barnes, Christopher; Sheffield, David; Gilbert, Paul; University of Derby (Springer Nature, 2019-06-29)
      Teacher retention is a key issue facing schools, with stress, student behavior, current competitive policies and practices resulting in many leaving within the first five years of qualification. Consequently, recent in-school research initiatives have focused on resilience training, although the quality of such conducted studies is debated. Drawn from Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), this study set out to explore a six module Compassionate Mind Training (CMT) programme with school staff to improve well-being. As part of their continued professional development, over 70 teachers and support staff took part in the CMT, with a mixed-measures AAB quantitative and qualitative design employed. This enabled us to explore both implementation effectiveness and outcome effectiveness in terms of parameters of well-being. The initiative was well-received with the majority of staff reporting positively on their experiences of the curriculum and practices. Additionally, exercise practice was associated with significant increases in self compassion (p<0.01) and significant decreases in self-criticism (p<0.05). Thematic analyses further revealed benefits of CMT for dealing with emotional difficulties. As a feasibility study, our results demonstrate many benefits of CMT in educational settings. CMT may hold promise as a way of helping those in education counteract the current competition-based nature of education, especially that which contributes to negative changes in well-being. Given this, future research should employ a control group design, a larger sample size and a range of wellbeing measures at follow-up, to fully evaluate the utility of CMT in educational settings.