Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The Role of Compassion in the Psychological Impact of Functional Seizures

Utting, Amy Louise


Amy Louise Utting


Paul Walton


This thesis portfolio comprises three parts:
Part One: Systematic Literature Review
The systematic literature review aimed to synthesise the evidence base of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and third-wave approaches to assess their effectiveness in alleviating psychological distress in people living with functional seizures (PwFS). Following a search using five electronic databases, seventeen papers were identified to meet the inclusion criteria and were quality assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project assessment tool. The papers were reviewed using a narrative synthesis approach. Reviewed interventions included individual, group and inpatient CBT, prolonged exposure, acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness-based therapy. Findings differed, based on study quality, methods and results although favourable evidence was provided for individual CBT. Promising evidence for several remaining interventions was discussed. The review concluded that psychological intervention is more beneficial for those with increased distress at baseline, and individualised treatment based on patient need and seizure aetiology may be a more beneficial approach. Clinical and future research implications are discussed.
Part Two: Empirical Paper
The empirical paper aimed to measure whether the flow of compassion (compassion to self, compassion from others, compassion to others) moderated the relationship between functional seizure severity (SS) and their psychological impact. 245 individuals with a diagnosis of FS completed an online survey comprising of SS, flow of compassion, anxiety, depression and stress, mental wellbeing and quality of life (QoL) measures. Correlational and regression analyses were conducted to test variables’ relationships and to establish whether the flow of compassion had a moderating effect. The study found compassion to self moderated the relationship between
seizure severity and mental wellbeing. Further predictive relationships were established and discussed. Clinical and future research implications were considered.
Part Three comprises the Appendices
The appendices relate to the systematic literature review and empirical paper. Reflective and epistemological statements are included.


Utting, A. L. (2023). The Role of Compassion in the Psychological Impact of Functional Seizures. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2023
Keywords Clinical psychology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Clinical Psychology
University of Hull
Award Date Oct 20, 2023


Thesis (3.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2023 Amy Louise Utting. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Downloadable Citations