Critical Analysis of Self-Care Through Self-Compassion by Dr. Susannah C. Coaston (2017)

Critical Analysis of Self-Care Through Self-Compassion by Dr. Susannah C. Coaston (2017)

Link for Critical Analysis of Research Article


Burnout of mental healthcare professionals- for being exposed to painful situations, traumatic circumstances, and overwhelming emotions painful situations over a period of time- has been one of the major concerns and area of interest of a number of researchers, who are exploring new and better strategies of self-care: self-compassion, mindfulness, wellness to cope burnout. Attempting to reimagine ‘holistic’ self-care to refresh, rejuvenate, and recharge their bodies, minds, and soul by regular acts of self-compassion that benefit both clients and counselors, many research papers have been written addressing the issue. A similar one, “Self-Care Through Self-Compassion: A Balm for Burnout” had been authored by Susannah C. Coaston in a research journal in 2017. Developing on the idea how wellness, prevention, and human development compose the core of a counselor’s professional identity, the author tried to address the role of self-care as an essentially helpful measure (and explaining its various interventions), the key component of the therapeutic relationship that— paradoxically—counselors may seldom apply to themselves, and suggested some simple and basic ‘solutions’ and practices on what and how the therapist can implement these principles of wellness in both clients and their own lives.

The author opened the paper by highlighting the importance of core concepts of mindfulness, self-compassion, burnout, counselor burnout, self-care, how it is practiced, and how self-care is a vital part of a counselor’s responsibilities to clients and to one’s self. The author elaborated how counselors can apply self-compassion principles to the creation of an individualized self-care plan, one that functions to rejuvenate flagging professional commitment and soothe potentially debilitating stress; and by cultivating an attitude of self-compassion, counsellors can be more attentive to their own needs, reducing the risk of developing burnout and benefitting both clients and them.

Though the paper did explain all major concepts really well, one of the major shortcomings was that this article never felt like a professional research paper. The author was more like giving random suggestions that not only lacked co-relation with one another but in fact, we're in no way, activities to reduce/prevent burnout. The author failed to distinguish between what is called ‘general wellbeing tips’ and those specifically relevant to this topic. Though the counsellor wrote about many interventions, including various Interventions for the mind, body, and spirit; things such as writing diaries, singing in the bathroom, and dancing is significant in having a healthy, optimistic lifestyle in general, but when it comes to the problem in focus, they are certainly of little use in reducing work-related burnout. Use of overgeneralized suggestions like maintaining physical health, engaging in a mindfulness exercise, intellectual stimulation (without explaining how things would go for it), and others unexplainable which could not be to be really “helpful”(like washing dishes, blogging, singing) in work-related burnout, which is again a major error.

While there is a lack of clarity in the explanation of the ‘greenhouse’ concept, due importance has not been given to the ‘yoga- meditation’ and the ‘spiritual’ component in ensuring reduced burden and enhanced psychological wellness. Over-excessive references made from researches of other authors that make the paper look more like a compilation of ‘extracts’ and nothing else- yet again increases the loophole count of this article. Not to overexaggerate, but one can practically find nothing ‘original’ about the content of this paper published by Coaston. It was more stated in commas (signifying that it has been quoted/referred) than what were the actual lines added by the author. Though the article followed a structured format neither for its opening nor closing, the content was well written (or well-compiled) covering all major themes surmounting the topic selected, however obscurity towards others, and loopholes as mentioned above, would have been, if kept in mind, it could have had been better for this otherwise overall knowledgeable and interesting article.


About the Author

Mritunjay Rampal

Young psychology enthusiast.

I am a 17-year-old senior high school psychology student, currently studying in grade 12, humanities stream, a

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