Thursday, 2 June 2016

11 - Careful caring

Want to learn more about compassion training? Heres the link to that piece on BBC Radio 4s all in the mind where Helen Weng, an expert from the Centre for investigating Minds, University of Wisconsin, Madison, described her research into how to train people to become more compassionate.

Another expert in this field, Tania Singer, has written much on the topic. Heres an article about her work (including a very cute clip of quadruplet babies laughing at each other!) from online science magazine - and you can watch a talk she gave about compassion training here.

What is interesting about compassion training is how it offers us an alternative to the cold distance that many people might feel they have experienced from some caring professionals.  If we experience empathy as problematic then maintaining what you might call a professional distance from the people we care for enables us to view them in a non-empathetic way as studies - we can care for them without experiencing their pain and thus protecting ourselves from it. Some studies of burnout in high risk professions like medics are now advising training these professionals to adopt an unemotional approach to their caring. We might feel that compassion training is a much better alternative.

By the way you may recognise the Mumford &sons song Not with haste from somewhere else - it started out as a song called Learn me right from the end of the movie Brave - where it is sung by Birdy. It doesnt have those all important closing words though. 

Refuel: How to balance work, life, faith and church - without burning out by Kate Middleton is available in paperback, priced £9.99. 

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