Although hospital chaplains play a critical role in delivering emotional and spiritual care to a broad range of both religious and non-religious patients, there is remarkably little research on the best-practices of chaplaincy training or “active ingredients” of chaplain spiritual consults. CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training) is a secularized compassion meditation program that improves empathic accuracy and enhances well-being, and it may be an ideal addition to both chaplain training programs and to the spiritual consults provided by hospital chaplains. Here we describe a program of research to evaluate the impact of CBCT on both chaplain residents and their subsequent clinical spiritual consults. First, we will examine whether CBCT enhances chaplain empathic accuracy and self-reported compassion and protects against burn-out. We will also use audio recordings of chaplain-patient interactions and patient chart reviews to systematically examine the elements in compassion-informed spiritual care that impact health outcomes. The proposed study will examine whether CBCT is an effective addition to spiritual healthcare and provide first-of-its-kind data on the linguistic components of chaplain intervention, which will contribute to a deeper understanding of the skillful means by which the wisdom of compassion may be translated to reduce suffering and enhance well-being.

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD

Science & Grants Consultant, Mind & Life Institute; Emory University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, Reviewer

Jenny Mascaro is an applied biological anthropologist whose research focuses on investigating the impact of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on the well-being, compassion, and health of both hospitalized patients … MORE

Charles Raison, PhD

Emory University



Mind & Life Connections