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Decentering is defined as the ability to observe one's thoughts and feelings as temporary, objective events in the mind, as opposed to reflections of the self that are necessarily true. The Experiences Questionnaire (EQ) was designed to measure both decentering and rumination but has not been empirically validated. The current study investigated the factor structure of the EQ in both undergraduate and clinical populations. A single, unifactorial decentering construct emerged using 2 undergraduate samples. The convergent and discriminant validity of this decentering factor was demonstrated in negative relationships with measures of depression symptoms, depressive rumination, experiential avoidance, and emotion regulation. Finally, the factor structure of the EQ was replicated in a clinical sample of individuals in remission from depression, and the decentering factor evidenced a negative relationship to concurrent levels of depression symptoms. Findings from this series of studies offer initial support for the EQ as a measure of decentering.
Recovery from emotional challenge and increased tolerance of negative affect are both hallmarks of mental health. Mindfulness training (MT) has been shown to facilitate these outcomes, yet little is known about its mechanisms of action. The present study employed functional MRI (fMRI) to compare neural reactivity to sadness provocation in participants completing 8 weeks of MT and waitlisted controls. Sadness resulted in widespread recruitment of regions associated with self-referential processes along the cortical midline. Despite equivalent self-reported sadness, MT participants demonstrated a distinct neural response, with greater right-lateralized recruitment, including visceral and somatosensory areas associated with body sensation. The greater somatic recruitment observed in the MT group during evoked sadness was associated with decreased depression scores. Restoring balance between affective and sensory neural networks—supporting conceptual and body based representations of emotion—could be one path through which mindfulness reduces vulnerability to dysphoric reactivity.
Recent reports indicate that depression is the most common psychological disorder in the US, affecting as many as 17 million Americans. This book integrates the spiritual practice of mindfulness with psychological techniques for changing negative thoughts and behaviors into a powerful and proven-effective program for coping with this serious and distressing condition.Current statistics suggest that as many as 17 million Americans suffer from depression; further research states that less than 25 percent of these receive adequate treatment for the disorder. In clinical trials, treatment approaches that incorporate spirituality with psychology have proven to be dramatically effective at countering depression. This book is co-written by a leading specialist in the treatment of depression and a clinical nurse who, as a Zen practitioner trained with Charlotte Joko Beck and Jon Kabat-Zinn. A concept grounded in the practice of certain forms of Buddhism, mindfulness is the conscious, uninvolved awareness of the present moment. Western psychologists have recently learned that this state of mind is particularly conducive to the accomplishment of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT: an active mode of psychological treatment that attempts to recognize and counter negative thoughts and behaviors before they lead to debilitating symptoms like depression. As statistics confirm again and again that depression is the single most common psychological problem affecting Americans, the refinement of psychotherapy through the integration of spirituality-based techniques has generated considerable interest among psychology professionals. This approachable and easy-to-use book makes these powerful techniques available to the general public. The book is built around a compelling series of specific, step-by-step interventions that provide readers with an understanding of the thoughts that lead to depression. They learn how to find the motivation to confront depressive feelings. By sitting with painful emotions and allowing them to pass, you will find that you can reduce the frequency of depressive episodes. Using meditation practices for observation and awareness, develop the ability to recognize cognitive, physiological, and environmental triggers that can lead to aggravated periods of the disorder. When you change how you approach your day-to-day life, your daily activities, the choices you make, and the way you cope with life's ups and downs you strengthen the skills you need to move beyond depression and develop lasting peace of mind.
Objective: Both Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Cognitive Therapy (CT) enhance self-management of prodromal symptoms associated with depressive relapse, albeit through divergent therapeutic procedures. We evaluated rates of relapse in remitted depressed patients receiving MBCT and CT. Decentering and dysfunctional attitudes were assessed as treatment-specific process markers. Method: Participants in remission from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD; N = 166) were randomized to 8 weeks of either MBCT (N = 82) or CT (N = 84) and were followed for 24 months, with process markers measured every 3 months. Attendance in both treatments was high (6.3/8 session) and treatment fidelity and competence were evaluated. Relapse was defined as a return of symptoms meeting the criteria for major depression on Module A of the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (SCID). Results: Intention-to-treat analyses indicated no differences between MBCT and CT in either rates of relapse to MDD or time to relapse across 24 months of follow up. Both groups experienced significant increases in decentering and participants in CT reported greater reductions in dysfunctional attitudes. Within both treatments, participants who relapsed evidenced lower decentering scores than those who stayed well over the follow up. Conclusions: This is the first study to directly compare relapse prophylaxis following MBCT and CT directly. The lack of group differences in time to relapse supports the view that both interventions are equally effective and that increases in decentering achieved via either treatment are associated with greater protection. These findings lend credence to Teasdale et al.’s (2002) contention that, even though they may be taught through dissimilar methods, CT and MBCT help participants develop similar metacognitive skills for the regulation of distressing thoughts and emotions.