Posted in pilot study, randomized controlled study

Regulating eating behavior

Duarte, Cristiana, José Pinto‐Gouveia, and R. James Stubbs. “Compassionate Attention and Regulation of Eating Behaviour: A pilot study of a brief low‐intensity intervention for binge eating.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 2017, doi: 10.1002/cpp.2094, online 13 Jun 2017.

Abstract. A low-intensity 4-week intervention that included components of compassion, mindfulness, and acceptance was delivered to women diagnosed with binge eating disorder. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions: intervention (n = 11) or waiting list control (n = 9).

Participants in the intervention condition were invited to practise mindfulness, soothing rhythm breathing, and compassionate imagery practices with a focus on awareness and acceptance of emotional states and triggers to binge eating and engagement in helpful actions.

Results revealed that, in the intervention group, there were significant reductions in eating psychopathology symptoms, binge eating symptoms, self-criticism, and indicators of psychological distress; there were significant increases in compassionate actions and body image-related psychological flexibility. Data suggest that developing compassion and acceptance competencies may improve eating behaviour and psychological well-being in individuals with binge eating disorder.

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Posted in MBSR, mindfulness meditation

Post-traumatic stress symptoms

Goldsmith, R. E., et al. (2014). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms: Building Acceptance and Decreasing Shame. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2156587214533703. Abstract

Mindfulness-based psychotherapies are associated with reductions in depression and anxiety. However, few studies address whether mindfulness-based approaches may benefit individuals with posttraumatic stress symptoms. The current pilot study explored whether group mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy reduced posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, and negative trauma-related appraisals in 9 adult participants who reported trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress or depression.

Participants completed 8 sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction treatment, as well as pretreatment, midtreatment, and posttreatment assessments of psychological symptoms, acceptance of emotional experiences, and trauma appraisals. Posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, and shame-based trauma appraisals were reduced over the 8-week period, whereas acceptance of emotional experiences increased. Participants’ self-reported amount of weekly mindfulness practice was related to increased acceptance of emotional experiences from pretreatment to posttreatment.

Results support the utility of mindfulness-based therapies for posttraumatic stress symptoms and reinforce studies that highlight reducing shame and increasing acceptance as important elements of recovery from trauma.

Posted in meditation

Cultivating enhanced well-being

Hosemans, D. (2014). Meditation: a Process of Cultivating Enhanced Well-Being. Mindfulness, 1-10.  Abstract

Meditation is the practise of training attention and has increasingly become implemented in mainstream healthcare. The current study compared non-meditators with two general approaches to meditation as follows: concentrative and insight-oriented. The latter entails focusing attention on a single object, whereas the former opens attention, in an accepting and non-judgmental way, to whatever arises within the mind.

Compared to non-meditators, both meditation approaches demonstrated significantly enhanced mindfulness and also indicated lower perceived stress. However, when compared to non-meditators, only insight-oriented meditators reported significantly greater subjective well-being (SWB), which is thought to arise from the expansion of attention to unwholesome thoughts, cultivating acceptance of such thoughts, and therefore decreasing the surrounding emotional context. Nonetheless, no significant difference was noted on SWB between concentrative and insight-oriented meditators.

Posted in MBCT, MBSR, Zen meditation

Beneficial for medical and psychiatric illness

Marchand, W. R. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and Zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 18(4), 233-252.

Abstract: Mindfulness has been described as a practice of learning to focus attention on moment-by-moment experience with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Mindfulness practices have become increasingly popular as complementary therapeutic strategies for a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions.

This paper provides an overview of three mindfulness interventions that have demonstrated effectiveness for psychiatric symptoms and/or pain. The goal of this review is to provide a synopsis that practicing clinicians can use as a clinical reference concerning Zen meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). All three approaches originated from Buddhist spiritual practices, but only Zen is an actual Buddhist tradition. MBSR and MBCT are secular, clinically based methods that employ manuals and standardized techniques.

Studies indicate that MBSR and MBCT have broad-spectrum antidepressant and antianxiety effects and decrease general psychological distress. MBCT is strongly recommended as an adjunctive treatment for unipolar depression. The evidence suggests that both MBSR and MBCT have efficacy as adjunctive interventions for anxiety symptoms. MBSR is beneficial for general psychological health and stress management in those with medical and psychiatric illness as well as in healthy individuals. Finally, MBSR and Zen meditation have a role in pain management.