What Does The Research Say?
By Dr. Georgina Robinson
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is an evidence-based program for adults, developed by two psychologists, Dr.s Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer. The constructs of mindfulness and self-compassion have been well studied, and there is robust evidence of the psychological benefits of both. Kristen Neff is a leading researcher in the area of mindful self-compassion and interested readers may refer to her website, selfcompassion.org, to access many original studies. Key findings indicate that participation in the MSC program, in addition to effectively increasing mindfulness and self-compassion skills, is associated with enhanced psychological well-being including increased life satisfaction and happiness and decreased stress, anxiety and depression (Neff & Germer, 2012).
Making Friends with Yourself (MFY) is an adaptation of MSC and is a relatively new program. This program was adapted by Karen Bluth, Ph.D., and Lorraine Hobbs, M.A. to meet the unique needs of teens. The program has been endorsed by the developers of MSC, (Dr.s Germer and Neff). Preliminary research suggests that like those who participate in the MSC program, teen participants of the MFY program attain psychological benefits. The first study (Bluth et al., 2016) indicated decreases in depression, anxiety, stress, and negative affect at the conclusion of the program. The second study (Bluth & Eisenlohr-Moul, 2017) demonstrated decreases in stress, and increases in resilience, positive risk-taking (willingness to take on new challenges) and gratitude. Additional within-person analyses of teens participating in MFY found the following associations: increases in mindfulness and self-compassion were associated with decreases in symptoms of depression and stress; increases in mindfulness were associated with decreases in anxiety; and increases in self-compassion were associated with increases in positive risk-taking and resilience.
Overall, research conducted on Making Friends with Yourself supports the effectiveness of this program in teaching mindful self-compassion skills to teens which results in positive psychological outcomes such as decreased symptoms of stress and depression, and associated changes in emotional resiliency.