#MyPTArticleOfTheMonth – what is Emma K Stokes reading?

Emma K Stokes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiotherapy at Trinity College Dublin, the Head of the Physical Therapy Program at Qatar University, the President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, and a professional (executive and leadership) coach. Guiding new developments and delivering leadership courses are prominent features of these roles. Like in clinical practice, the results of high-quality research are critical for informing this work.

Emma browses every issue of the Harvard Business Review because it is a great knowledge translation journal, with many authors writing about their primary research in a way that translates it for those who wish to use the findings in their work. An article in the September-October 2018 issue entitled “Give yourself a break: the power of self-compassion” motivated Emma to read the primary research article for her #MyPTArticleOfTheMonth.

Zhang JW, Chen S. Self-compassion promotes personal improvement from regret experiences via acceptance. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2016;42(2):244-58

In this article Zhang and Chen report the results of three research studies exploring how we learn from regret experiences and how taking a self-compassion mindset when considering regret experiences can lead to more personal growth. Overall, the results suggest that self-compassion spurs positive adjustment in the face of regrets. Emma says “the studies utilised diverse research methods that were clearly reported, minimise bias, and clearly outline the limitations. I judged the research to be high-quality, relevant and informative for my work. I will use the results in my leadership workshops when referring to self-compassion. The results will also inform my professional reflective writing and how I work with colleagues as they consider set-backs or failures.” Emma’s take home message is: “when we are confronted with failure or set-backs (regret experiences) we should try to take a self-compassionate approach while accepting our regrets and acknowledging that shortcomings and failures are a shared human experience. This approach will allow for more personal growth and development.”

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