Most carers concerned with people with a learning disability would consider compassion and caring as synonymous and that they are somehow intrinsically linked. However, when questioned they find compassion in the context of caring for learning disability clients difficult to define. It is often formulated as an extended expression of caring and linked with the terms empathy and altruism. White (1997) proposes that the ability to empathise with clients is generally seen to be a desirable attribute in the interpersonal repertoire of carers. Therefore, by association, to be compassionate could also be perceived as an attractive quality to behold. Furthermore, Oliner (2002) implies that altruism is helping another without any expectation of reward or benefit in return. Consequently, although the true concept of ...