Compassion can be valuable in demanding help settings, both to professionals and clients. Nevertheless, compassion-based interventions have not yet been investigated in residential youth care. This qualitative study aimed to examine the caregivers’ experiences with the Compassionate Mind Training program for Caregivers (CMT-Care Homes), as well as their perceptions regarding the barriers/enablers, transfer of learnings, and impact at individual, group, and organizational levels.
Three focus groups were conducted, enrolling 19 caregivers after their participation in the CMT-Care Homes. Data were examined using thematic analysis.
Four overarching themes, 10 themes, and 14 subthemes were identified. The CMT-Care Homes seemed to enable the development of the three flows of compassion (i.e., compassion towards others, receive compassion from others, and self-compassion). While the program’s acceptability, practice, and transfer of learnings seem to facilitate compassion, reported difficulties with some formal practices and fears, blocks, and resistances to compassion might be barriers to its development. Knowledge and practices were transferred to work, both at individual and collective levels, increasing caregivers’ emotional health and strengthening team functioning. The program also contributed to improve care practices and to promote an affiliative organizational climate. Indirect impact on youth was also reported, regarding their reactions to the caregivers’ compassionate attitudes.
Findings demonstrated promising benefits of the CMT-Care Homes in residential youth care settings, at personal, team, and organization levels. Compassion was helpful in working with youth, and in regulating caregivers’ own emotions at work. Limitations regarding method and data analysis should be considered.