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There has been a groundswell of interest in the UK in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and its derivatives, particularly Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Many health, education and social work practitioners have sought ways to develop their competencies as mindfulness-based teachers, and increasing numbers of organisations are developing mindfulness-based training programmes. However, the rapid expansion of interest in mindfulness-based approaches has meant that those people offering training for MBSR and MBCT teachers have had to consider some quite fundamental questions about training processes, standards and competence. They also need to consider how to develop a robust professional context for the next generation of mindfulness-based teachers. The ways in which competencies are addressed in the secular mainstream contexts in which MBSR and MBCT are taught are examined to enable a consideration of the particularities of mindfulness-based teaching competence. A framework suggesting how competencies develop in trainees is presented. The current status of methodologies for assessing competencies used in mindfulness-based training and research programmes is reviewed. We argue that the time is ripe to continue to develop these dialogues across the international community of mindfulness-based trainers and teachers.
Previous research on assessment of mindfulness by self-report suggests that it may include five component skills: observing, describing, acting with awareness, nonjudging of inner experience, and nonreactivity to inner experience. These elements of mindfulness can be measured with the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ). The authors investigated several aspects of the construct validity of the FFMQ in experienced meditators and nonmeditating comparison groups. Consistent with predictions, most mindfulness facets were significantly related to meditation experience and to psychological symptoms and well-being. As expected, relationships between the observing facet and psychological adjustment varied with meditation experience. Regression and mediation analyses showed that several of the facets contributed independently to the prediction of well-being and significantly mediated the relationship between meditation experience and well-being. Findings support the construct validity of the FFMQ in a combination of samples not previously investigated.
Conditional goal setting (CGS, the tendency to regard high order goals such as happiness, as conditional upon the achievement of lower order goals) is observed in individuals with depression and recent research has suggested a link between levels of dispositional mindfulness and conditional goal setting in depressed patients. Since interventions which aim to increase mindfulness through training in meditation are used with patients suffering from depression it is of interest to examine whether such interventions might alter CGS. Study 1 examined the correlation between changes in dispositional mindfulness and changes in CGS over a 3-4 month period in patients participating in a pilot randomised controlled trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Results indicated that increases in dispositional mindfulness were significantly associated with decreases in CGS, although this effect could not be attributed specifically to the group who had received training in meditation. Study 2 explored the impact of brief periods of either breathing or loving kindness meditation on CGS in 55 healthy participants. Contrary to expectation, a brief period of meditation increased CGS. Further analyses indicated that this effect was restricted to participants low in goal re-engagement ability who were allocated to loving kindness meditation. Longer term changes in dispositional mindfulness are associated with reductions in CGS in patients with depressed mood. However initial reactions to meditation, and in particular loving kindness meditation, may be counterintuitive and further research is required in order to determine the relationship between initial reactions and longer-term benefits of meditation practice.
Few empirical studies have explored the associations between formal and informal mindfulness home practice and outcome in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). In this study ninety-nine participants randomised to MBCT in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial completed self-reported ratings of home practice over 7 treatment weeks. Recurrence of Major Depression was assessed immediately after treatment, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12-months post-treatment. Results identified a significant association between mean daily duration of formal home practice and outcome and additionally indicated that participants who reported that they engaged in formal home practice on at least 3 days a week during the treatment phase were almost half as likely to relapse as those who reported fewer days of formal practice. These associations were independent of the potentially confounding variable of participant-rated treatment plausibility. The current study identified no significant association between informal home practice and outcome, although this may relate to the inherent difficulties in quantifying informal home mindfulness practice. These findings have important implications for clinicians discussing mindfulness-based interventions with their participants, in particular in relation to MBCT, where the amount of participant engagement in home practice appears to have a significant positive impact on outcome.
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.
Cognitive Reactivity (CR) refers to the degree to which a mild dysphoric state reactivates negative thinking patterns, and it has been found to play a key causal role in depressive relapse. Although Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) directly aims to address this mechanism of CR, the relationship between mindfulness and CR has not been tested to date. Using a cross-sectional design (Study 1; n = 164) and a non-randomized waiting list controlled design (Study 2; MBCT [n = 18] vs. waiting list [n = 21]), the authors examined the relationship between naturally occurring levels of mindfulness (Study 1) and MBCT (Study 2) on the one hand, and CR on the other hand. In line with predictions, it was found that (a) trait mindfulness is significantly negatively correlated with CR, even when controlled for current depressive symptoms and prior history of depression (Study 1), and that (b) MBCT, compared to a matched control group, significantly reduces CR, and that this effect of MBCT on reduction of CR is mediated by a positive change in mindfulness skills (Study 2). Results provide first evidence for the claim that mindfulness practices in MBCT are designed to address the process of CR.
"Grounded in extensive research and clinical experience, this book describes how to adapt mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for participants who struggle with recurrent suicidal thoughts and impulses. Relevant to all mindfulness teachers, a comprehensive framework is presented for understanding suicidality and its underlying vulnerabilities. The preliminary intake interview and each of the eight group mindfulness sessions of MBCT are discussed in detail, highlighting issues that need to be taken into account with highly vulnerable people. Assessment guidelines are provided and strategies for safely teaching core mindfulness practices are illustrated with extensive case examples. The book also discusses how to develop the required mindfulness teacher skills and competencies. Purchasers get access to a companion website featuring downloadable audio recordings of the guided mindfulness practices, narrated by Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams, and John D. Teasdale. See also Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Second Edition, by Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams, and John D. Teasdale, the authoritative presentation of MBCT"--
Objective: We compared mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) with both cognitive psychological education (CPE) and treatment as usual (TAU) in preventing relapse to major depressive disorder (MDD) in people currently in remission following at least 3 previous episodes. Method: A randomized controlled trial in which 274 participants were allocated in the ratio 2:2:1 to MBCT plus TAU, CPE plus TAU, and TAU alone, and data were analyzed for the 255 (93%; MBCT = 99, CPE = 103, TAU = 53) retained to follow-up. MBCT was delivered in accordance with its published manual, modified to address suicidal cognitions; CPE was modeled on MBCT, but without training in meditation. Both treatments were delivered through 8 weekly classes. Results: Allocated treatment had no significant effect on risk of relapse to MDD over 12 months follow-up, hazard ratio for MBCT vs. CPE = 0.88, 95% CI [0.58, 1.35]; for MBCT vs. TAU = 0.69, 95% CI [0.42, 1.12]. However, severity of childhood trauma affected relapse, hazard ratio for increase of 1 standard deviation = 1.26 (95% CI [1.05, 1.50]), and significantly interacted with allocated treatment. Among participants above median severity, the hazard ratio was 0.61, 95% CI [0.34, 1.09], for MBCT vs. CPE, and 0.43, 95% CI [0.22, 0.87], for MBCT vs. TAU. For those below median severity, there were no such differences between treatment groups. Conclusion: MBCT provided significant protection against relapse for participants with increased vulnerability due to history of childhood trauma, but showed no significant advantage in comparison to an active control treatment and usual care over the whole group of patients with recurrent depression.
Recent research has shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could be a useful alternative approach to the treatment of health anxiety and deserves further investigation. In this paper, we outline the rationale for using MBCT in the treatment of this condition, namely its hypothesised impact on the underlying mechanisms which maintain health anxiety, such as rumination and avoidance, hypervigilance to body sensations and misinterpretation of such sensations. We also describe some of the adaptations which were made to the MBCT protocol for recurrent depression in this trial and discuss the rationale for these adaptations. We use a case example from the trial to illustrate how MBCT was implemented and outline the experience of one of the participants who took part in an 8-week MBCT course. Finally, we detail some of the more general experiences of participants and discuss the advantages and possible limitations of this approach for this population, as well as considering what might be useful avenues to explore in future research.
Mindfulness-based approaches to medicine, psychology, neuroscience, healthcare, education, business leadership, and other major societal institutions have become increasingly common. New paradigms are emerging from a confluence of two powerful and potentially synergistic epistemologies: one arising from the wisdom traditions of Asia and the other arising from post-enlightenment empirical science. This book presents the work of internationally renowned experts in the fields of Buddhist scholarship and scientific research, as well as looking at the implementation of mindfulness in healthcare and education settings. Contributors consider the use of mindfulness throughout history and look at the actual meaning of mindfulness whilst identifying the most salient areas for potential synergy and for potential disjunction. Mindfulness: Diverse Perspectives on its Meanings, Origins and Applications provides a place where wisdom teachings, philosophy, history, science and personal meditation practice meet. It was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Buddhism.
If you've ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all. In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to "think" our way out of a bad mood or just "snap out of it" lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life's challenges with greater resilience. Jon Kabat-Zinn gently and encouragingly narrates the accompanying CD of guided meditations, making this a complete package for anyone seeking to regain a sense of hope and well-being.