Compassion’s Compass, Strategies for Developing Insight, Kindness and Empathy
offers a systematic approach to developing compassionate insight that has been adapted from Tibetan mind training strategies, secularized for modern audiences, and supplemented with relevant research, anecdotes, and exercises in accessible language. It in includes a Handbook for Helping Professionals in order to help combat compassion fatigue. The strategy described in this book is called COMPASS, which is an an acronym for Compassion and Analytical Selective-Focus Skills. Selective-focus skills suggest contemplations that can help to generate and enhance compassionate insight.
Mind Training Exercises
These exercises follow an “emotional logic” in which one step produces a basis for cultivating the next. These skill steps are broken down in detail with each section of the book containing a discussion of the purpose of the skill being presented, supporting research for it, examples of its use, and short exercises for the reader to try in order to cultivate and enhance it. These techniques have been piloted with social workers and therapists-in-training. Details of these pilot studies are included. The exercises that are presented in each chapter are also compiled in order for easy use in the back of the book.
The intended audience for this book includes
educators, helping professionals, students in training for careers in the helping professions, first responders, and any adult who may face compassion fatigue as a part of his or her career or as a part of coping with daily life.
Narcissism vs. Compassion
Narcissism has a devastating effect on individuals and on culture. Researchers are finding that excessive self-focus is linked to negative affect, impaired problem-solving abilities, heightened social anxiety, increased anger and aggression, and coronary disease. The social isolation that ensues from narcissism can be devastating. In contrast, compassionate insight leads to several health benefits including a strengthened immune system and better vagal tone. It increases happiness, calms and focuses us, improves social connections, enhances hope and well-being, and gives life meaning. Therefore, the subject matter of this book is of critical importance to individuals and to society.
Recognition at symposiums & conferences
COMPASS has received some recognition through various presentations including symposiums at national conferences
Studies on COMPASS
 Goodman, R. D., Hunt, C. H., Pruzinsky, T., Hurley, W. (2015), Brief Mindfulness-based Compassion Training: A Multi-method Approach to Assessing Positive Psychological Outcomes and Potential Barriers to Future Practice among Therapist Trainees. Grant Proposal, Unpublished.
 Goodman, R. D., Hurley, W., Pruzinsky, T., & Rietschel, C. H. (2016, April). Development of COMPASS: Mindfulness-based compassion training research. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Counseling Association, Montréal, QC.
 Hunt, C.A., Goodman, R. D., Hilert, A. J., Hurley, W., & Hill, C.E. (in preparation). Enhancing Therapist-Rated Presence and Session Effectiveness in Psychotherapy: A Mindfulness-Based Compassion Intervention.
 Hunt, C.A., Goodman, R.D., Hilert, A.J. Hurley, W. & Hill, C.E. (2021) A mindfulness-based compassion workshop and pre-session preparation to enhance therapist effectiveness in psychotherapy: A pilot study, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/09515070.2021.1895724
About the Author
Wilson C. Hurley, LCSW
is an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University and a clinical social worker in private practice in Centreville, VA. He specializes in working with children, adolescents and families, but also works with adults in individual and couples therapy.
Mr. Hurley developed a mindfulness program for children in an outpatient treatment program in the 1980s before entering the Fairfax County Public Schools where he worked in centers for emotionally disabled children for twelve years.
Since his return to private practice in 2001, Mr. Hurley has integrated mindfulness and other selective focus techniques into his work with clients. He has presented on mindfulness, mind/body research, and transforming stress to clinical social workers in the Fairfax County School System and has talked on spirituality and psychotherapy in various venues including
- the Washington School of Psychiatry
- the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, and
- the Northern Virginia Regional Support Center.
More recently he has worked on a systematic approach to compassion development, which he presented at the 5th Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) at Amherst College, the National Association of Social Workers’ 2014 National Conference in Washington DC, and the American Psychological Association’s 2014 National Conference in Washington DC.
His publications include:
- Enhancing a Positive School Climate with Compassion and Analytical Selective-Focus Skills (COMPASS), IISTE Journal of Education and Practice (2014)
- The Water and Wood Shastras, which he co-translated from the Tibetan with Yeshe Khedrup (www.karunapublications.org, 2012)
- Science and Buddhism: Studying Compassion, by Lorne Ladner, Ph.D. and Wilson Hurley, LCSW, FPMT Mandala Magazine, April 2005
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