By the Water’s Edge: a Hermeneutic Look at Suffering and Self-Compassion in Counselling Psychology

  • Kirsten KlingleEmail author
  • Shelly Russell-Mayhew
  • Anusha Kassan
  • Nancy Moules


What is to be done in response to client suffering? Our aim in this paper is to explore the generative potential in viewing the topic of suffering and self-compassion through an interpretive lens. To accomplish this goal, we review Gadamerian philosophical hermeneutics as a way of understanding these topics while looking to the central tenets of counselling psychology as a guide in elucidating the therapeutic experience. In so doing, we stress the significance in recognizing the interpretive and unique experience of suffering and self-compassion, in turn privileging the client’s conceptualizations and experiences.


Self-compassion Suffering Counselling psychology Hermeneutic philosophy Gadamer 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of NursingUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryUSA

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