• Consensus Definition of Self-Love: A Delphi Study

      Underwood, Jack; College of Professional Advancement
      CONSENSUS DEFINITION OF SELF-LOVE: A DELPHI STUDY Abstract This study produced a consensus definition of self-love, counseling uses, and outcomes. Self-love is a concept written about but minimally researched. Research investigating a definition of self-love includes the dissertations of Patrick (1982), Freedman (1995), Irvani (2007), and Samiei (2015). These authors define self-love based on comprehensive reviews of research and psychology literature, philosophical underpinnings, theoretical frameworks of Erich Fromm and Carl Rogers, and a panel consultation of psychologists. This study sought to establish a valid research definition of self-love through the use of the Delphi research method. Fully licensed counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and a psychiatrist comprised the initial 25-member Delphi expert panel. The consensus definition of self-love was constructed largely with components of self-care, self-worth, self-acceptance, and unconditional positive self-regard. A distinct panel outcome, was the consensus that self-love is both an individual and dual process, revising previous literature suggesting the dual process model only. The panel produced near perfect consensus on two definitions of self-care that were extremely important to the definition of self-love: a practice of self-compassion and self-empathy, and the act of nurturing the whole self. Three research questions were utilized to produce an initial definition of self-love which then went through the multiple iteration process to reach the consensus definition for the study. The panel agreed on 20 ways a definition of self-love can be used in counseling in addition to 23 positive outcomes that might be associated with clients who receive counseling focusing on self-love. Keywords: self-love, Delphi, research validity, expert panel, consensus agreement