Self-management of Stage 2 Parkinson’s disease

Vandenberg, Brooke, E., et al. Mindfulness-based lifestyle programs for the self-management of Parkinson’s disease in Australia, Health Promotion Internationalhttps://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/day021.

Abstract. Despite emerging evidence suggesting positive outcomes of mindfulness training for the self-management of other neuro-degenerative diseases, limited research has explored its effect on the self-management of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

We aimed to characterize the experiences of individuals participating in a facilitated, group mindfulness-based lifestyle program for community living adults with Stage 2 PD and explore how the program influenced beliefs about self-management of their disease.

Our longitudinal qualitative study was embedded within a randomized controlled trial exploring the impact of a 6-week mindfulness-based lifestyle program on patient-reported function. The study was set in Melbourne, Australia in 2012–2013. We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants before, immediately after, and 6 months following participation in the program. Sixteen participants were interviewed prior to commencing the program. Of these, 12 were interviewed shortly after its conclusion, and 9 interviewed at 6 months.

Prior to the program, participants felt a lack of control over their illness. A desire for control and a need for alternative tools for managing the progression of PD motivated many to engage with the program. Following the program, where participants experienced an increase in mindfulness, many became more accepting of disease progression and reported improved social relationships and self-confidence in managing their disease.

Mindfulness-based lifestyle programs have the potential for increasing both participants’ sense of control over their reactions to disease symptoms as well as social connectedness. Community-based mindfulness training may provide participants with tools for self-managing a number of the consequences of Stage 2 PD.

For people with multiple sclerosis

Spitzer, Elizabeth, and Kenneth I. Pakenham. “Evaluation of a brief community‐based mindfulness intervention for people with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study.” Clinical Psychologist (2016). Abstract.

Objective. Mindfulness-based interventions can improve quality of life (QoL) in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS); however, the potential benefits of brief mindfulness group programs delivered in community settings have not been investigated with this population. This pilot study evaluated a brief (five-session) community-based group mindfulness program for PwMS.

Method. Participants were 23 PwMS recruited through Multiple Sclerosis Queensland, Australia. The study had a single intervention condition with pre-intervention, post-intervention and eight-week follow-up assessments. Primary outcomes were QoL, psychological distress and fatigue, and secondary outcomes were mindfulness, self-compassion, and acceptance.

Results. Analyses revealed improvements in psychological distress, perceived stress, the mental health QoL dimension, mindfulness, self-compassion, and acceptance. All participants agreed they would recommend the program to others with multiple sclerosis and most reported that the program was helpful and enjoyable. Qualitative data showed that participants gained in present moment awareness, coping skills, self-compassion, acceptance, support, and changed perspectives.

Conclusions. Results suggest that brief mindfulness interventions may improve psychological wellbeing in PwMS; however, a longer intervention period or programs that incorporate mindful movement activities may be needed to bring about improvements in physical health QoL dimensions and fatigue.

Mindfulness in intimate relationships (MSIR)

Kocsis, A. & Newbury-Helps, J. (2016). Mindfulness in Sex Therapy and Intimate Relationships (MSIR): Clinical Protocol and Theory Development. Mindfulness, p. 1-10. First online 05 April 2016.

From the Abstract: Mindfulness has been used as an intervention for specific sexual dysfunctions in women; evidence has also accumulated for the role of mindfulness in treating the kinds of psychological difficulties which are associated with sexual dysfunction. This paper describes, within a clinical context, a qualitative approach to protocol and theory development for a mindfulness-based sex and intimate relationship (MSIR) programme as a generic adjunct to sex therapy. The aim was to adapt the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) group protocol to address diverse sexual and intimacy difficulties.

Teaching with mindfulness

Hoyt, M. (2016). Teaching with Mindfulness: Pedagogy of being-with/for and without being-with/for. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 31(1). Full text.

From the introduction: “In this article, drawing on the cultural and spiritual traditions of Buddhism and Taoism, I argue that a pedagogy of mindfulness would cultivate a pedagogical relationship that is being-with/for others and without being-with/for others amid difficult and challenging situations.

College students with ADHD

Murrell, Amy R., Ethan G. Lester, and Emily K. Sandoz. “Grounding Turbulent Minds: The Challenges of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for College Students With ADHD and How to Overcome Them.” Journal of College Student Psychotherapy 29.4 (2015): 314-328. Abstract only.

College can be difficult for students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Inattention and impulsivity are not conducive to academic success. Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulties with time management, organization, social adjustment, and psychological distress.

One possible treatment approach for individuals with ADHD is mindfulness-based interventions, which lead to symptom reductions and increases in mindfulness skills. However, there are challenges in conducting such treatments on college campuses. This article outlines some of those challenges and highlights ways to overcome them using intervention research, more specifically clinical behavior analysis.

The qualitative experience of conducting two mindfulness meditation interventions for college students with ADHD is discussed, and recommendations for conducting similar campus-based interventions are made.