Sless, D. (2021). Compassion as a state of being: An intuitive inquiry [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

Buddhists, psychologists and transpersonal psychotherapists have considered compassion. However, there is nothing in the literature that examines the embodied sense of compassion from a psychotherapeutic stance. To fill that gap, this research study, which employs both intellect and intuition, explores whether it is possible to embody compassion as a state of being – a level of consciousness where compassion is embodied. Using the intuitive inquiry methodology, semi-structured interviews were conducted with four purposely sampled counsellors or psychotherapists. The research question was “What is it like to experience a compassionate state of being – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?” The interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis as outlined by Anderson (2008). The major categories were: ego development, transpersonal consciousness, increased intuition, and relational connection. The results indicated that a compassionate state of being occurs at a transpersonal level of consciousness, occupying a relational position of “I-I”, “I-We”. The ego traverses through different developmental stages: “I-It”, “I-You” to “I-I”, “I-We”. The research also showed that each participant experienced a profound shift in his or her level of connection with the other, yet remained separate. However, each participant’s individual experience of embodying a sense of compassion was unique and personal – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. These results stimulate future research into an understanding of whether entering a compassionate state of being could help psychotherapists to reduce, or even avoid, experiencing vicarious trauma, burnout or compassion fatigue when working from a compassionate state of being?

Alef Trust logo

Transpersonal psychology newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive updates from the world of transpersonal psychology, news, events and updates on new webinars, courses and programmes.