Mindful with your baby

Potharst, Eva, et al. “Mindful with Your Baby: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effects of a Mindful Parenting Group Training for Mothers and Their Babies in a Mental Health Context.” Mindfulness, first online 13 Apr 2017, DOI: 10.1007/s12671-017-0699-9. Full text.

From the Abstract: Many mothers experience difficulties after the birth of a baby. Mindful parenting may have benefits for mothers and babies, because it can help mothers regulate stress, and be more attentive towards themselves and their babies, which may have positive effects on their responsivity.

This study examined the effectiveness of . . . an 8-week mindful parenting group training for mothers with their babies. The presence of the babies provides on-the-spot practicing opportunities and facilitates generalization of what is learned. Forty-four mothers with their babies (0–18 months), who were referred to a mental health clinic because of elevated stress or mental health problems of the mother, infant (regulation) problems, or mother-infant interaction problems, participated in 10 groups, each comprising of three to six mother-baby dyads.

Questionnaires were administered at pretest, post-test, 8-week follow-up, and 1-year follow-up. Dropout rate was 7%. At post-test, 8-week follow-up, and 1-year follow-up, a significant improvement was seen in mindfulness, self-compassion, mindful parenting, (medium to large effects), as well as in well-being, psychopathology, parental confidence, responsivity, and hostility (small to large effects).

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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.

Health practitioners and self-compassion

Egan, H., Mantzios, M., & Jackson, C. (2016). Health Practitioners and the Directive Towards Compassionate Healthcare in the UK: Exploring the Need to Educate Health Practitioners on How to be Self-Compassionate and Mindful Alongside Mandating Compassion Towards Patients. Health Professions Education. Online Oct 4, 2016

Concerns have been periodically raised about care that lacks compassion in health care settings. The resulting demands for an increase in consistent compassionate care for patients have frequently failed to acknowledge the potentially detrimental implications for health care professionals including compassion fatigue and a failure to care for oneself.

This communication suggests how mindfulness and self-compassion may advance means of supporting those who care for a living and extends the call for greater compassion to include people working within a contemporary health care setting in the United Kingdom. The potential benefits for both health professionals and patients is implied, and may well help to create a healthier, more authentically compassionate environment for all.

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