Mindful­ness to address transdiagnostic mental processes

Greeson, J. M. (2015). Transtherapeutic Mindfulness. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 21(3). Full Text.

From the Abstract: Mindfulness is a natural quality of awareness characterized by attending to the present moment, nonjudgmentally, and without reacting to negative thoughts or negative emotions im­plicated in mood disorders and other psychiatric conditions.

A relatively new clinical perspective suggests that, by specifi­cally targeting transdiagnostic processes that are shared across numerous mental disorders—such as negative thinking, the tendency to experience negative affect, and emotional reac­tivity—mindfulness training offers a viable approach to treat­ing mood disorders and a number of common, stress-related comorbidities, including sleep disturbance, chronic pain, and substance misuse. Therefore, as a clinician, using mindful­ness to address transdiagnostic mental processes that underlie mood symptoms can be quite efficient and therapeutic. . . .

Finally, research suggests that different mindfulness prac­tices, such as mindful breathing, sitting meditation, body scan, mindful yoga, and loving kindness, can produce differ­ent effects on transdiagnostic outcome measures, allowing a clinician to move toward personalized mindfulness prac­tices based on each patient’s individual needs, symptoms, and preference.

Single-session meditation in oncology outpatient clinic

Chaoul, A., et al. (2014). An Analysis of Meditation Consultations in an Integrative Oncology Outpatient Clinic. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(5), A86-A86.

From the Abstract. The majority of cancer patients use some complementary medicine modality. Mind-body practices, and especially meditation, are amongst the most utilized. Research shows that they help cancer patients manage psychological distress and control symptoms such as pain, nausea, and sleep disturbances. However, the effects of a single meditation session on self-reported symptoms, including physical, psychological and symptom distress in an outpatient setting, are largely unknown.

All patients [received] an individual meditation consultation (60 minute initial visits, and 30 minute follow-up visits). Our analysis included 81 meditation visits for 121 participants over 32 months. The [results] revealed a significant reduction from pre- to post-meditation session in physical, psychological, and symptom distress component scores. The greatest mean reductions for individual symptoms were for: Anxiety, Fatigue, Distress, Well Being, Sleep, and Pain; all changes reaching statistically and clinically significant thresholds.

Further research with a larger sample size is needed to better understand the symptoms that meditation can help control and the frequency of self-practice outside of the clinic to help maintain the long-term benefits.

For mothers with childbirth-related trauma

Kendall-Tackett, K. (2014). Intervention for Mothers Who Have Experienced Childbirth-Related Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Clinical Lactation, 5(2), 56-61.Full text via Open Access.

The author advocates mindfulness meditation as one of several complementary healing modalities suitable for relief from posttraumatic stress.

Abstract: Lactation consultants may be one of the first healthcare providers who see mothers following a difficult birth. As such, they can be key sources of support and information for mothers at this critical time. Several aspects of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant’s (IBCLC) scope of practice can fit within trauma-informed care, including helping mothers identify possible trauma symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addressing breastfeeding issues that may be sequelae of a traumatic birth. IBCLCs can inform mothers about their treatment options and refer them to additional sources of support.

This article describes breastfeeding issues that might arise in the wake of a traumatic birth and summarizes evidence-based treatment options for PTSD so that IBCLCs can share this information with mothers.

MBI reduce psychological distress in working adults: meta-analysis

Virgili, M. (2013). Mindfulness-Based Interventions Reduce Psychological Distress in Working Adults: a Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies. Mindfulness. Published online Dec. 2013.

From the Abstract: The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for reducing psychological distress in working adults. A comprehensive literature search of relevant databases included articles written in English published on December 2012. The meta-analysis included 19 controlled and uncontrolled intervention studies with a total of 1,139 participants.

Analyses based on subgroup comparisons suggested that brief versions of mindfulness-based stress reduction developed for organisational settings are equally effective as standard 8-week versions originally developed for clinical settings. However, there is little evidence to suggest that MBIs are more effective than other types of occupational stress management interventions, such as relaxation training and yoga, for reducing psychological distress in working adults. Overall, these findings support the use of MBIs in organisational settings for the reduction of psychological distress.

Mindfulness training for seniors (MBCAS)

Keller, B. Z., Singh, N. N., & Winton, A. S. (2013). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Approach for Seniors (MBCAS): Program Development and Implementation. Mindfulness, 7. Full text.

A number of cognitive interventions have been developed to enhance cognitive functioning in the growing population of the elderly. We describe the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Approach for Seniors (MBCAS), a new training program designed especially for seniors. It was conceived in the context of self-development for seniors who wish to enhance their relationship with their inner and outer selves in order to navigate their aging process more easily and fluently.

Physical and psychosocial problems related to aging, as well as some temporal issues, were taken into account in developing this program. Unlike clinically oriented mindfulness-based programs, which are generally delivered during an 8-week period, the MBCAS training program is presented over a period of 8 months. The main objectives of this program are to teach seniors to observe current experiences with nonjudgmental awareness, to identify automatic behaviors or reactions to current experiences that are potentially nonadaptive, and to enhance and reinforce positive coping with typical difficulties that they face in their daily lives.

Details of the program development and initial implementation are presented, with suggestions for evaluating the program’s effectiveness.

Measured effect of Himalayan singing bowl

Landry, J. M. (2013). Physiological and Psychological Effects of a Himalayan Singing Bowl in Meditation Practice: A Quantitative Analysis. American Journal of Health Promotion. From the Abstract.

Purpose.  To determine the physiological and psychological effects of adding a Himalayan singing bowl (HSB) to a directed relaxation (DR) session.

Subjects.  Fifty-one participants completed two randomly assigned sessions beginning with either 12 minutes of HSB or silence, followed by a 20-minute DR session.

Measures.  Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) scores measured before and after both sessions.

Results.  Fifty-one participants completed both sessions. There was a greater decline in systolic BP and HR with HSB compared to silence prior to DR. Changes in diastolic BP were greater with HSB, with a nonsignificant trend. Hypertensive subjects had similar and significant BP changes with HSB and silence when compared to normotensive subjects).

Conclusions.  BP and HR responses were enhanced by HSB exposure.

Improves fatigue, anxiety, and emotional faculties of women with breast cancer

Kim, Y. H., et al. (2013). Effects of meditation on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Epub ahead of print.

From the Abstract: [The objective was to] investigate the effects of meditation on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life in women who are receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer.

The subjects of this study included 102 female breast cancer patients who had undergone breast-conserving surgery; these female patients were randomized into equally assigned meditation control groups, with each group consisting of 51 patients. The test group received a total of 12 meditation therapy sessions during their 6-week radiation therapy period, and the control group underwent only a conventional radiation therapy.

Based on the results of this study, an affirmation can be made that meditation can be used as a non-invasive intervention treatment for improving fatigue, anxiety, quality of life, and emotional faculties of women with breast cancer.

Mantra meditation helps with knee osteoarthritis

Selfe, T. K., & Innes, K. E. (2013). Effects of Meditation on Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis. A Pilot Study. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 19(3), 139-146. Full text.

From the Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate changes in knee pain, function, and related indices in older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee, following an 8-week mantra  meditation program. Findings from this pilot study suggest that a mantra meditation program may help reduce knee pain and dysfunction, as well as improving mood and related outcomes in adults with knee osteoarthritis.

Short-term meditation training can improve attention

Tang, Y. Y., et al. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(43), 17152-17156. Full text.

Recent studies suggest that months to years of intensive and systematic meditation training can improve attention. However, the lengthy training required has made it difficult to use random assignment of participants to conditions to confirm these findings. This article shows that a group randomly assigned to 5 days of meditation practice with the integrative body–mind training method shows significantly better attention and control of stress than a similarly chosen control group given relaxation training.

The training method comes from traditional Chinese medicine and incorporates aspects of other meditation and mindfulness training. Compared with the control group, the experimental group of 40 undergraduate Chinese students given 5 days of 20-min  integrative training showed greater improvement in conflict scores on the Attention Network Test, lower anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue, and higher vigor on the Profile of Mood States scale, a significant decrease in stress-related cortisol, and an increase in immunoreactivity.

These results provide a convenient method for studying the influence of meditation by using experimental and control methods similar to those used to test drugs or other interventions.

Use of loving-kindness meditation in counseling

Leppma, M. (2012). Loving-Kindness Meditation and Counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 34 (3), 197. Full text.

Excerpts: Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is a type of mindfulness-based meditation that emphasizes caring and connection with others. LKM incorporates nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, which enhances attention, presence, acceptance, and self-regulation; it also entails directing caring feelings toward oneself and then others and emphasizes both self-care and interconnectedness. Thus, LKM is suitable for helping clients forge healthy connections with themselves and others. This article examines the use and implications of LKM in counseling.

This article describes ways in which mental health counselors can infuse loving-kindness (metta, Sans.) principles into their work. These principles coincide with the general goals of counseling. Metta principles can also help counselors to foster a positive therapeutic alliance by increasing empathy, wellness, presence, and positive emotions. More than 30 years of research in mindfulness [meditation] and burgeoning research in loving-kindness and compassion provide solid support for using these principles in counseling.