Wednesday, June 07, 2006
There's increasing interest in the so-called "third wave" of development of cognitive-behavioural therapy. Just as behavioural therapy was expanded by the inclusion of cognitive approaches, there is a further movement towards the incorporation of mindfulness and other more spiritually-based approaches into cognitive-behavioural therapy.
Based on a combination of Eastern meditation and Western psychology, mindfulness based cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques are used in the context of both physical and psychological health problems.
Mindfulness involves developing the ability to pay deliberate attention to the experience of life from moment to moment. Using relaxation, an awareness of the breath and a gentle focus of attention, individuals learn to observe their thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations in a non-judgemental way.
Mindfulness has been used extensively at the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society (CFM) founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. The CFM advocates the integration of mindfulness meditation practices into the mainstream of medicine and health care, as well as other areas of society and is heavily involved in research to expand our understanding of mindfulness and its potential effects on mind and body.
In clinical research, mindfulness has been demonstrated to assist both in adaptation to pain and illness and in recovery from depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and stress related problems.
For individuals wishing to learn a little more about mindfulness in general, the two books by Kabat-Zinn listed below provide a good introduction to the practice of mindfulness. Additional references are also provided for those wishing to explore the use of mindfulness specifically within the context of therapy.
Baer, R. E., 2005, Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches, First Edition: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and Applications (Practical Resources for the Mental Health Professional); Academic Press.
Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice
Hayes, S. C., Follette, V. M., & Lineham, M. M. (2004). Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding the cognitive-behavioral tradition. New York: Guilford Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. Delacorte: NY.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. Hyperion: New York.
Segal, Z.V., Williams, J.M.G. & Teasdale, J.D, 2002, Mindfulness–based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. A New Approach to Preventing Relapse. Guilford Press