FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MINDFULNESS
The First International Conference on Mindfulness 1° ICM Rome, May 8-12 2013
Keynote lectures (in alphabetical order, according to keynote speakers’ last names) Mindfulness and its supportive friends Amaro Ajahn Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK In order for mindfulness to fulfil its potential as a liberating quality, leading the individual to lasting peace, happiness & well-being, it can be aided by many other factors. This talk will explore the nature of some of those friends and relations of mindfulness and outline ways that they can be cultivated to support its transformative powers
Mental states and their transformation by mindfulness Henk P. Barendregt Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, Radboud University The development of mindfulness interventions has been inspired by insight meditation (vipassana) coming from classical Buddhism. By using the notion 'mental state' and 'stream of consciousness' one may describe the principal aim of both mindfulness interventions and insight meditation, and at the same time differentiate between these. Mindfulness interventions conduct the practitioner towards domestication of dysfunctional mental states, so that their occurrence is reduced or even eliminated. Insight meditation, on the other hand, aims also at domestication of some mental states that usually are considered functional. The reason to do this is that there may ̶and in fact will ̶come situations in which these no longer are wholesome. Both practices need various cycles of developing discipline and concentration aimed at insight, using a trained form of the simple but individually often forgotten act of friendly mindfulness. This insight results in stress reduction, with its well-known benefits for mind and body. Insight meditation eventually aims at the domestication of the interpretation of 'personal self', by which this notion is no longer seen and felt as a permanent entity, but rather as an ongoing process. A developed fine resolution of awareness brings about the insight that the stream of consciousness runs by itself and determines 'our' mental states, without us being directly able to determine them. Having clearly seen and accepted this, paradoxically results in considerably greater freedom and well-being. The reason is that no longer one needs to pretend (e.g. to be the boss who is in absolute control of one's mind and body). This is both a relief and a resource for wholesome action.
Mindful parenting in mental health care: Effects on parental stress, (co)parenting, and child and parental psychopathology Bögels Susan University of Amsterdam & UvA minds Despite its inherent joys, the challenges of parenting can produce considerable stress. These challenges multiply-and the quality of parenting may suffer-when a parent or child has mental health issues, or when parents are in conflict. Even under optimal circumstances, the constant changes as children develop can tax parents' inner resources, often undoing the best intentions and parenting courses. Mindful Parenting is an eight-week structured mindfulness training program, based on MBSR and MBCT. It is designed for use in mental health care contexts, for parents who
have (had) mental health problems that interfere with parenting, or whose child or children have mental health problems. The program's eight sessions focus on mindfulness-oriented skills for parents, such as parenting with beginner’s mind, responding to (as opposed to reacting to) parenting stress, handling conflict with children or partners, fostering empathy, and setting limits. In this keynote the theories on which Mindful Parenting is based, the rationale, and the build-up of the program, is outlined. Scientific research as well as qualitative reports about the effects of Mindful Parenting in a mental health care context on outcome measures such as parental and child psychopathology, parenting stress, parenting, and co-parenting, are reviewed. Also, the effects on variables that are assumed to mediate the change, such as mindfulness, mindful parenting, and parental experiential avoidance, are presented. With videotapes and short meditation practices that we have found to be helpful in teaching mindful parenting to parents, parts of the program are demonstrated. Finally, the attitudes and skills of a Mindful Parenting instructor are discussed.
Mindfulness and its obstacles in science and in practice Grossman Paul University of Basel Hospital, Switzerland As ‘mindfulness’ reaches a stage of broad acceptance in science and society, opportunities abound to reorient and recalibrate our knowledge of the human psyche, behavior and actions in the world: On the one hand, a powerful tool of phenomenological investigation has been rediscovered that may be capable of enriching the experience and understanding of our inner lives. On the other hand, this tool—the practice of mindfulness—(perhaps more an approach to life than a tool) engenders ways of thinking that deviate radically from those of the past, such as the consideration of an interwoven relationship between the cognitive and the ethical, or stark insights into the limitations of positivist scientific traditions and methods in psychology. Nevertheless, potential for such innovations of thinking and being in the world relies upon the extent to which facilitators of mindfulness-based interventions and scientists examining mindfulness remain cognizant of the soteriological and ethical foundations of the Buddhist percept, so as not to denature or reify mindfulness to make it fit into staid academic models, methods and theories. This presentation will explore obstacles that a mindful approach faces as ‘mindfulness’ becomes mainstream in science and in the marketplace: 1) how ‘mindfulness’ may have already become reified and restrictively redefined in the psychological literature; 2) how inherent forces of human nature, such as greed, delusion and ignorance collude with the marketplace in science and the self-help industry, to influence dissemination of MBI’s and distort the scientific literature on mindfulness; 3) how current scientific pressures and incentives contribute to the problem of overoptimistic reporting of mindfulness findings; 4) how professional occupation with ‘mindfulness’ may contribute to taboo-ization of discussion of these issues; and 5) how current methods of investigation may not offer optimal approaches to the objective examination of benefits of mindfulness practice and may actually lead to false leads. Finally, procedures will be suggested by which some of these issues may be addressed and possibly partially overcome.
The Future of Mindfulness: Transformation and Healing at the Confluence of Science and Dharma Kabat-Zinn Jon University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA Interest in mindfulness is expanding exponentially. Along with the enthusiasm come both profound opportunities and the usual dangers that accompany any bandwagon phenomenon - in particular, that the essence of mindfulness as a liberative meditative practice and challenging discipline will be lost, downplayed, or even ignored in favor of more conceptual attempts to investigate and understand it from the outside, without taking equal care to investigate and understand it from the inside - through direct experience on the part of the investigators. In this keynote talk, Dr. KabatZinn will discuss both the promise and the dangers associated with the mindfulness phenomenon, analyze why it is so popular, and point out the potential power of bringing the depths and rigor of the third-person perspective of science, including medical science, together with the depths and rigor of the first-person orientation of meditative practices. He will argue that if we can succeed in understanding mindfulness from both the inside and the outside with equal rigor and objectivity, we will be able to dramatically reduce human suffering, elucidate with far greater precision the nature of what we commonly refer to as “the self,” promote physical and psychological healing, and transform of our relationship with ourselves, society, the environment, and the planet itself.
The self-fulfilling brain: predictions, categories, and what all this has to do with meditation Pagnoni Giuseppe University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy The brain is a very energy-demanding organ and, intriguingly, most of its metabolic budget is spent on maintaining neural activity even when we are not involved in any explicit task. While this intrinsic activity has long been considered as lacking functional meaning, it has recently come to the forefront of neuroimaging research for its potential to illuminate some fundamental questions about the brain and the mind. One of the most promising theory in this field views the brain as a prediction machine that is constantly seeking to confirm its hypotheses about the world, based on past experiences. In this lecture, we will discuss these issues and how findings from the meditation research literature can be interpreted in the light of this theoretical framework.
Mindfulness, Suicidality and Early Adversity Professor Mark Williams University of Oxford, UK There are large differences from one person to another in the extent to which suicidal ideation and behaviour can be triggered by mood or by difficult circumstances. New understandings from psychology (e.g. from mood challenge paradigms to examine long-term vulnerability in high risk people even when in remission) show us a way in which mindfulness might begin to address these on-going vulnerabilities. The talk will describe research suggesting that it is how people react to suicidal thoughts that creates the conditions in which they persist and escalate. Although some people take comfort from suicidal feelings, most people either try to suppress these feelings, or ruminate about what it means to have them. Both ways of coping with suicidal feelings can tragically backfire: the feelings become stronger. The talk will report data from a trial that has
studied whether Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which seeks to train people to notice and change their habitual tendencies to react to their own thinking in unhelpful ways, can reduce recurrence of depression in those who are at highest risk, and whether, if they experience another episode, they can be depressed without becoming suicidal.
Symposium on Mindfulness and Dharma Developing heart qualities through meditation Ajahn Chandapalo Santacittarama Buddhist Monastery, Rieti, Italy There is a common tendency among westerners to approach meditation in a very cerebral way, with an emphasis on willful effort and control, which can result in a heightened sense of separation and alienation. This can leave one with a feeling of inner emptiness, of something lacking, of ones heart not being fully engaged. Fundamental to traditional Buddhist meditation practice are what are known as the Four Brahma Viharas, or sublime abidings of friendliness, empathy, joy and serenity. These natural and skilful qualities of the heart can be directly accessed and developed, helping to foster a sense of connectedness and wholeness and an ability to relate more skillfully both to ones own inner experience and to the outside world.
Now and Zen: Shikantaza, koan and mindfulness Dario Doshin Girolami L’Arco Zen Center, Rome, Italy The practice of being in the present moment is crucial in Zen as in Mindfulness. Shikantaza is the main practice of the Soto Zen Tradition: although normally is translated as “just sitting”, Shikantaza entails to be fully in the infinity of the present moment. Then, the question is: “How small is the idea that we have of what is the present moment?”. The Zen practice of Koan on some level is a practice of mindfulness, but on another level is a practice that reconnects the practitioner with the whole Universe. It’s the practice of harmonizing the particular with the universal, or recognizing the Absolute in the present moment. Again the question is: “what is the limit of here and now”?. Both Shikantaza and Koan practice work in the context of the Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha. They entails, certainly, right mindfulness, but also right effort, right concentration, right view and right intention. Also they are aimed to a right conduct (right speech, action and livelihood). So the questions are: Does Mindfulness work apart from the context of the Eightfold Path? What is the difference between Buddhist meditation, and the practice of Mindfulness? Is it possible to enter Samadhi only through the practice of Mindfulness? Those are the questions the talk will deal with.
Living with Tonglen and the bliss of breathing Geshe Gedun Tharchin LamRim Institute, Rome, Italy The Eight Verses Thought Transformation says, “In brief, directly or indirectly, I will offer help and happiness to all my mothers, and secretly take upon myself. All their hurt and suffering. ”The Tong Len practice is primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is in herent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be. Tong Len reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure and, in the process, we become liberated from a very ancient prison of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and others and also we begin to take care of ourselves and others. It awakens our compassion. Tong Len can be done either as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at anytime. For example, if you are out walking and you see someone in pain —right on the spot you can begin to breathe in their pain and send out some relief.
Symposia (In alphabetical order, according to the first convenor’s last name and, within each Symposium, according to the first author’s last names) MEDITATION PRACTICE IN NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES: EVIDENCE ON CARDIAC, DIABETIC AND CANCER PATIENTS Convenors: Bruno G. Bara1, Fabio Giommi2,3 1Center for Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology, University of Turin, ITALY, Via Po, 14 -‐ 10123 Torino (IT) Phone: +39 011 6703036 2AIM-‐Associazione Italiana Mindfulness2 NOUS-‐ School of Psychotherapy, Milano3
General abstract: In the context of medical care, where patients experience a wide range of physical and emotional difficulties, consensus is growing around the notion that care must be given to the patient as a whole person. Within the present symposium, four papers will be presented on the relationship between self-‐ awareness practices and total well-‐being of the individual. The common underlying assumption is that when people are in contact with themselves they can create the conditions to become healthy human beings. In particular, meditation practice offers a new perspective on the suffering linked to a medical condition. Research studies show how meditation practice and a mindful approach to organic diseases can also lead to an improvement of the medical condition of patients, as well as to better psychological outcomes. The Symposium will take into account a specific field of medical conditions: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), so called because they are not passed from person to person. NCDs are chronic diseases with a long duration and a generally slow progression. They cause more than 36 million people’s deaths each year, and the WHO has activated an Action plan to prevent and control them. The four main types of noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes. They share four risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diet. The challenge of meditation practice with patients affected by NCDs is to change the relation of the individual with her/his own disease, even if chronic, investigating which measurable variables can show this evolution. The aim of the Symposium is to present four research studies on meditation and mindfulness practice with patients affected by NCDs.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program for cancer survivors: a pilot study in Italian Oncology Setting Eleonora Capovilla, Irene Guglieri1, Fabio Giommi 1 UOS Psiconcologia, Istituto Oncologico Veneteo IOV-IRCCS
Introduction: A cancer diagnosis is a life-‐changing event and adverse consequences of cancer survival have the potential to cause physical, psychological and social morbidity. Few studies have
investigated the efficacy of psychosocial interventions in survivorship and research is needed to identify appropriate strategies to support cancer patient survivors. Results from meta-‐ analyses suggest that mindfulness based therapy is effective for reduction of psychological distress both in cancer patients and survivors. Method: This study is designed as a descriptive pilot study to examine 1) the effect of participation in a MBSR program on cancer survivors 2) the feasibility of MBSR in a public oncology setting in Italy. 59 cancer survivors were recruited from oncology clinic of IOV from 2009 to 2012. A self-‐assessment questionnaire package was fulfilled before and after participation in a MBSR program. Outcome measures included quality of life (EORTC QLQ C-‐30), distress (PGWBI), anxiety and depression (HADS), mindfulness skills (KIMS; MAAS). Qualitative data were collected. Results: Actually preliminary data analysis showed significant severe distress reduction (from 56% to 24%) and enhancement of non distress state (from 39% to 62,5%) after the program. Levels of mindfulness increased significantly over the course of the program (61%) and was maintained until 12 months after the treatment. Further analyses are now underway. Discussion: This pilot study shows the feasibility of MBSR program with cancer survivors in oncology setting and represents the first experience in Italian public oncology.
Mental Fitness in patients with cardiovascular disease: Awareness is effective on psychological and medical variables Rabellino Daniela, Claudia Chiavarino, Erika Cavallero, Luigi Palumbo, Serena Bergerone, Fiorenzo Gaita, Bruno G. Bara Center for Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology, University of Turin, ITALY Introduction Cardiovascular disease represents one of the leading causes of death in western countries. Growing evidence shows that psychological interventions may enhance the efficacy of standard cardiological treatment. The aim of this study is to investigate the contribution of an integrated approach, named Mental Fitness, which comprehends meditation practice within a brief psychological group intervention. Method Prospective randomized controlled single-‐blind trial, recruiting patients with coronary heart disease within a week from their acute cardiac event. At the time of recruitment, all patients (N=65) were Results The experimental group patients reported increased mental (F(1,52)=12.253, p=.001), social (F(1,52)=13.654, p=.001) and environmental (F(1,52)=5.247, p=.026) quality of life compared to the control group. They showed better emotional (F(1,59)=12.354, p=.001) and problem-‐ centered coping strategies (F(1,59)=10.227, p=.002), and higher emotional awareness (F(1,58)=4.647, p=.035). They also showed a better improvement of medical outcomes, and specifically on lipid profile (cholesterol F(1,43)=4.589, p=.038 and triglycerides F(1,44)=4.161, p=.047) and cardiac functioning (heart rate F(1,56)=9.187, p=.004 and ejection fraction F(1,57)=5.628, p=.021). Discussion
This study demonstrates the positive effect of Mental Fitness on specific psychological and clinical variables potentially influencing cardiological patients’ prognosis.
Individual Mindfulness-‐Based Cognitive Therapy for people with diabetes: a pilot randomized controlled trial Maya J. Schroevers1, K. Annika Tovote, Joost C. Keers, Thera P. Links, Robbert Sanderman, Joke Fleer 1 Section Health Psychology, University of Groningen/University Medical Center, Netherlands Introduction Diabetes puts a considerable psychological burden on patients. In this pilot RCT, we examined the feasibility and acceptability of individual Mindfulness-‐Based Cognitive Therapy (I-‐MBCT). Descriptive analyses were performed to explore changes in patients’ functioning over time. Method Consecutive diabetes patients were screened on psychological symptoms and when reporting elevated levels of symptoms, approached for the study. Patients completed self-‐report questionnaires pre-‐ and post-‐intervention. Results 347 diabetes patients filled out the screening questionnaire: 104 patients reported elevated levels of psychological symptoms. Of the 38 eligible patients, 24 patients were randomized in I-‐MBCT (n=12) or waitlist (n=12). Two of 12 patients assigned to I-‐MBCT dropped out of the intervention. Most patients were very satisfied with I-‐MBCT. Preliminary analyses showed that patients receiving I-‐MBCT reported significant reductions in depressive symptoms and diabetes-‐related distress and, to a lesser extent, improvements in mindfulness and attention regulation, compared to controls. Discussion This may be the first RCT on individual MBCT. Findings support the feasibility and acceptability of I-‐MBCT in diabetes patients and suggest that I-‐MBCT may be associated with improvements in psychological functioning. As such, our results warrant larger trials on this alternative form of mindfulness-‐ based therapy.
Mindfulness-‐based cognitive therapy for patients with diabetes and emotional problems: Follow-‐up findings from the DiaMind randomized controlled trial Jenny van Son, Ivan Nyklíček1, Victor J. Pop, François Pouwer 1 Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Netherlands
Introduction The DiaMind randomized controlled trial showed beneficial immediate effects of mindfulness-‐ based cognitive (group) therapy (MBCT) on emotional distress and health-‐related quality of life, but not on diabetes specific distress and HbA1c. The aim of the present report was to examine if the effects would be sustained after 6 months follow-‐up and if diabetes related factors predict effectiveness. Method
In the DiaMind trial, 139 outpatients with diabetes and low levels of emotional well-‐being were randomized to MBCT (n=70) or a waiting list group (n=69). Primary outcomes were perceived stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, mood, and diabetes specific distress. Secondary outcomes were health-‐related Results Compared to the control group, MBCT showed sustained reductions in perceived stress (P1000hrs) showed a strikingly different pattern, however. Their self-‐ reported attentional state corresponded with alpha power during a more extended time interval preceding those of controls and novice meditators. In addition, self-‐reported low attention trials showed a distinctive alpha suppression preceding prove onset, suggesting that the ability for moment-‐by-‐moment monitoring of the attentional state permitted greater attentional control.
MINDFUL LEADERSHIP. REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE IN BRINGING MINDFULNESS INTO ORGANIZATIONAL LIFE
Convenor: Fabio Giommi AIM-‐Associazione Italiana Mindfulness NOUS-‐ School of Psychotherapy, Italy During the last decade there has been an surge of interest about the potential benefit of mindful individuals in leadership roles within organizational life. One the one side, the promise of it seems evident; on the other side, actual training experiences aimed to favour more mindful people are not so frequent in large organizations, and rarely they go behyond pilot projects limited to rather small sample. The aim of the present symposium is to present two case hystories from real life application of mindfulness in organisational life, and to reflect on the obstacles and the constrains as well as the benefit and the promise of such attempt. The first presentation is an account of a massive, possibly the largest ever in Europe, experience of an introductory mindfulnes exercises as part of a training program at Telecom Italia, a TLC multinational. The interest of this case hystory, between other things, is in how mindfulness, although an introductory taste, was received by several hundreds persons in leadreship roles. The second presentation is about quite the opposite setting: a single young individual with a leadership role in a big multinational consultancy firm, who was personally moved and transformed by attending an MBSR course, and brought and a consistently practiced a more mindful attitude in leading his team. In this specific case, also the financial results of a more mindful leadership were measurable.
The third presentation will offer a summary reflection, based on the previous case histories and other cases, on pros and cons of proposing mindfulness in organizations.
Management of trade investment in the FMCG sector. Practical case hystory of trade investment optimization and control based on a model of “responsibility” through the application of mindfulness and ACT principles Gabriele Rossi De Gasperis, Business development manager This paper presents a model that improves the return on investment in the FMCG sector, considering a practical case of management of trade investment developed in a multinational company in Italy. Trade investment in the FMCG sector is the main budget to develop the business and it holds long term strategies of multinational companies. This is a model of “responsibility”, wherewith the sales management team has the instruments to manage the profit and loss with full awareness. The objective is to allow business decision in line with the company mission and values through an efficient management of trade investment. I have developed this model based on my own personal meditation experience through attending an MBSR 8-‐weeks class, and then through the application of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) principles, a technique based on mindfulness that leads to be in contact with the present here and now and do actions in line with companies’ values. Once I have proved that trade investment can be managed in a context of complexity through a simple process of “responsibility” I have set a system of control able to identify deviations from the guidelines.
Bringing mindfulness into organizational life: easy to say, much less to do, beautiful when succeed Fabio Giommi AIM-‐Associazione Italiana Mindfulness NOUS-‐ School of Psychotherapy, Italy The third presentation will offer a summary reflection, based on a rather extended, real life professional experience about the obstacles, the illusions as well as the potential benefit and the beauty that might come from developing mindfulness into organizational life. In the last years there has been a vivid interest of the business world and of the consultancy communities about the potential of bringing mindfulness into organizations. This is easy to say, much less to do. And the risk is that this opportunity promote, instead, lots of wishful thinking, over-‐simplistic ideas about mindfulness and leadership, and eventually to promote illusions. The presentation is aimed to show how, in order to be successful, a mix of (not so common) requirements and conditions is needed, as prerequisites. However, when these conditions are met, the results are often not only really remarkable and sustained but also beautiful: organizational life can be experienced as a more fully human life.
Telecom Italia HRS: promoting mindful attention in executives and managers. Case history from a “massive” training experience
¹Maria Antonietta Russo, ¹ Imma Ardito, ¹ Marco Granone ¹ Telecom Italia HRS Telecom Italia is a multinational telecom company-‐ the biggest Italian industrial company. During the last three years, Telecom Italia Human Resources Services (HRS) -‐ the group company specialized in delivering H. R. consultancy, training, and services to the other group companies in Italy , South America, and other countries – has launched a massive training program targeting almost all Telecom Italia executives, managers and middle managment in Italy. The training consisted of 5 different one -‐day intensive workshops. One of these workshop was aimed to develop awareness about the way we are conditioned by our attentional processes, and the crucial important of mindful attention in decision making and emotional intelligence. The workshop increased participant's knowledge about the recent scientific developments in neuroscience and cognitive psychology of attention. Most importantly, the workshop was mainly devoted to develop experiential, first-‐person awareness about the power of attention in conditioning our mind , as well as to introduce some basic mindfulness practices to improve attentional awareness. The workshop main teacher was delivered by a small team of consultants led by Fabio Giommi. Between July 2010 and June 2012, in two distinct flows, 613 executives and managers, and 744 middle management, attended this workshop. The mean overall evaluation from executives and managers about the training was 4.5 on a 1-‐5 likert scale (1= not satisfied at all; 5 = very satisfied); and the evaluation about how the workshop had met expectations and achieved its objectives was 4.5. While, the mean overall evaluation from middle management about the training was 4.1; and the evaluation about how the workshop had met expectations and achieved its objectives was 4.4. During this presentation qualitative data and narrative accounts of such unique training experience will be shared. The focus of the presentation will be particularly on how the “strange” mindful attention practices were received and experienced by participants.
CULTIVATING MIND, ENHANCING LIFE. A MINDFULNESS INTERVENTION FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR, AND THEIR MOTHERS Convenors: 1Dr.Yoon-Suk Hwang, 2Patrick Kearney 1 Griffith University, Australia 2 Dharmasalon.net General Abstract: In this symposium we will present a research project that is applying mindfulness to those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and aggressive behaviours. “Mindfulness” here is not being treated as a newly discovered and isolated psychological technique, but as an integral part of a broader approach to human fulfilment though cognitive and affective development as originally developed in the Pāli Nikāyas, or “collections.” These texts constitute the earliest stratum of Indian Buddhist literature, and they give us a sophisticated and subtle presentation of the nature and role of mindfulness as a basis for research. This
classical understanding is being adapted to accommodate the requirements of a contemporary social science research project. We are examining the relevance of mindfulness practice for those living with ASD through a pilot study that applies mindfulness to five children and a young adult (CA range 8 -‐ 16) with ASD and aggressive disorders, along with their mothers. This study investigates a variety of mindfulness-‐related research issues, such as the effects of mindful parenting, the training of mothers to become mindfulness teachers of their own children, the relationships between mindfulness practice and aggressive behaviours, the use of an iPad as an interactive tool for young people with ASD to learn mindfulness, and the strengths and weaknesses of mindfulness practice for this population. This study comprises four consecutive phases; 1) a mindfulness intervention phase for mothers, 2) a mindfulness self-‐practice phase for mothers, 3) a mindfulness intervention phase for each child, and 4) a mindfulness practice phase for both children and mothers. Mindfulness training is being provided through programs based on inclusive Mindfulness-‐ Based Attention Training (iMBAT). These programs have their theoretical foundations in the Nikāyas, and their practical foundations in the researchers’ extensive training in the teaching and practice of satipaṭṭhāna meditation in the Theravāda Buddhist tradition. The effects of mindfulness practice for the mothers and their child are being explored through the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, Child Behaviour Checklist, Parenting Stress Scale and The Beach Family Quality of Life Questionnaire. In addition, the mothers are keeping a record of the nature and frequencies of their child’s aggressive behaviour along with a reflective diary of their own mindfulness practice throughout the four phases. The results to date of this study will be presented and discussed. The difficulties and successes reported by and observed in parents and their children with ASD and aggressive behaviours will be discussed in terms of the Buddha’s theoretical framework, to the degree this is found to be relevant to the experience of these participants. Aspects of this framework that have already emerged as useful include clear understanding, the intelligence associated with mindfulness, the analysis of mindfulness practice into the two counterparts of serenity and insight, and the Buddha’s understanding of the three universal characteristics of human experience, those of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-‐self.
Mindful parenting for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Leading by example, not orders Yoon-‐Suk Hwang Griffith University, Australia Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a cluster of developmental disorders that demonstrate as significant difficulties in essential human activities such as social interaction and communication. These difficulties are often manifested through aggressive behaviours, which become a main stressor for people living with ASD. Parents of children with ASD and aggressive behaviours are particularly in danger of burnout, as they frequently experience mental stress and physical hardship associated with parenting. This pilot study with six Australian mothers aims to examine the effects of mindful parenting for both mothers and their child and, in the next stage of this study, train each mother to become a mindfulness teacher for their own child. Inclusive Mindfulness-‐Based Attention Training (iMBAT) was developed for these mothers to train them to learn to remember to be aware of their present experience of body and mind, and to apply this awareness into their everyday life. They gathered together eight times for two hours over a period of three months. This was followed by a two month self practice period. The effects of mindfulness parenting were evaluated
through the observation of their child’s aggressive behaviour, keeping a reflective diary of their own mindfulness practice and the completion of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, Child Behaviour Checklist, Parenting Stress Scale and The Beach Family Quality of Life Questionnaire. The results of both qualitative and quantitative data analysis will be presented and discussed.
Mindfulness and Autism Spectrum Disorders: “I love you guys.”
Yoon-‐Suk Hwang Griffith University, Australia Recent studies of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (e.g., Singh et al., 2011a; 2011b) show that mindfulness practice can be successfully applied to reduce the aggressive behaviours of people with these conditions. A pilot study with six Australian learners with ASD and aggressive disorders (CA range 8 -‐ 16) is examining whether this is the case for younger people. The learners participated in inclusive Mindfulness Based Attention Training (iMBAT) for children, consisting of weekly home visits and on-‐line meetings for four weeks, and subsequently practised mindfulness with their family. The content and instruction of the iMBAT for children were differentiated to meet the range of individuality that characterises ASD. Initial in-‐depth interviews were conducted to allow for the content of the iMBAT program to be individualised to reflect the specific needs and capacities of each learner. The process of teaching iMBAT was individualised by creating a teaching team for each learner, consisting of the researchers and the learner’s mother. In addition, a video modelling approach was adopted through customising an autism app demonstrating the basic mindfulness activities. The effects of mindfulness practice for the learners are being explored through Child Behaviour Checklist, on-‐going observation of the nature and frequency of aggressive behaviours and interviews with these learners and their mother. The results up-‐to-‐ date will be discussed and implications of mindfulness intervention for learners with ASD will be drawn.
Forgetting and remembering – the dynamics of mindfulness
Patrick Kearney Dharmasalon.net “Mindfulness” is the standard translation of the Pāli word sati, which literally means “memory.” In contemporary research, mindfulness has become a floating signifier referring to anything from a psychological technique to a way of life. Yet if we are to develop a sophisticated understanding of mindfulness and its associated mental states, we need to be clear about their nature and function. This paper will take a trajectory that begins with the Buddha’s understanding of mindfulness as memory. Mindfulness indicates memory of the present rather than of the past. This is central to the continuity of attention. How does attention to the present lapse? The Buddha’s analysis, supported by empirical observation, shows us that while it is easy to be aware, it is also very easy to forget our awareness. Mindfulness allows a continuity of awareness, though which other mental states, such as calm and concentration, can develop. Weak mindfulness creates an awareness that is patchy, unable to hold and follow a given activity. Mindfulness training seeks to develop a felt continuity of awareness by training the participant to remember awareness over time.
Cultivating an understanding the nature of mindfulness should allow for a more sophisticated approach to developing programs to train mindfulness, a greater capacity to adapt mindfulness training to the needs of different populations, and a more creative approach to reading the landmarks of the development of mindfulness in different populations.
MINDFULNESS AND EMOTIONAL BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Convenor: Cesare Maffei University Vita-‐Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Psychology, Milan, Italy General abstract: During the last decades, research in psychology and psychopathology has shown an increasing interest in emotions and their role in determining both psychological well-‐being and maladjustment. Even if different, and also contrasting, theories and models of emotions are now available, consensus is growing about the central role of emotion regulation and dysregulation. The construct of emotion dysregulation has been used to explain diverse psychopathologies. Elaborated emotion-‐dysregulation theories have been applied to depression, generalized anxiety disorder, alcohol/substance abuse, self-‐injury, suicide, eating disorders, and borderline personality disorder. Conceptualizations of emotion regulation that emphasize the functionality of both positive and negative emotions view adaptive emotion regulation as the ability to control one’s behaviors (e.g., by inhibiting impulsive behaviors and/or engaging in goal-‐directed behaviors) when experiencing negative emotions, rather than the ability to control, or inhibit, one’s emotions. Although this means that adaptive regulation could involve efforts to modulate the intensity or duration of an emotion, these efforts are in the service of reducing the urgency associated with the emotion in order to control one’s behavior (rather than the emotion itself). This approach suggests the utility of behaviors that function to “take the edge off” an emotion or self-‐soothe when distressed, provided that the individual is not attempting to get rid of the emotion or escape it altogether. As such, this approach is acceptance-‐based, conceptualizing both positive and negative emotions as functional and encouraging the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of all emotions. According to this model of emotion regulation, it is evident that mindfulness plays a fundamental role. In this symposium the relationship between emotion dysregulation and mindfulness in borderline personality disorder and allied disorders is discussed from different perspectives: Elicitation of specific emotions through selected videoclips and evaluation of subjective response, psychophysiological response (heart rate variability) and eyes movements. The values of these variables are related to dispositional mindfulness capacities evaluated with the MAAS and the FFMQ.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in patients with brooding and Personality Disorders: a clinical experience Stefania d’Angerio, Donatella Fiore, Giovanni Pellecchia, Antonio Semerari Terzo Centro di Psicoterapia Cognitiva, SPC, Rome, Italy Introduction The practice of Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention that originated from Eastern meditative practices. It is described as "paying attention in a particular way: intentionally, in the present moment and in a non-‐judgmental way" (Kabat-‐Zinn, 1994, p. 4). Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has demonstrated its effectiveness in reduction of depressive relapses (Segal 2002), working in particular on depressive symptoms, on anxiety and on brooding. The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has used mindfulness in the treatment of Borderline patients (DBP) by inserting a module in the skills training (Linhean 1993). A study has shown the effectiveness of MBCT for borderline personality disorders, showing that the training acts on anxiety symptoms as well as on dissociative symptoms and avoidant behaviors (Sachse 2010). Preliminary studies on neuroimaging show that mindfulness acts on emotional regulation increasing regulation of the limbic system and the control of attention (Sipe 2012). There are no studies that investigate the effectiveness of MBCT in Personality Disorders other than the DBP. Objectives This research aims to study the symptoms of anxiety and brooding in patients with also a Personality Disorder. Methodology The pilot study was performed on 10 subjects (patients which came from a private study of psychotherapy) with symptoms of anxiety, in particular brooding and who had had a history of depressive symptoms. Some of these patients suffered also from a Personality Disorder. We have given them MBCT expanded to 10 sessions with an additional specific psychoeducational module on brooding. Were applied tests that measured the Personality Disorder (SCID II) the depression (BDI), the alexithymia (TAS), the brooding (Worry Penn State) and specific skills on mindfulness (Kentucky). Results Changes in anxiety and depressive symptoms were observed.
The association between temperament and character traits, mindfulness and emotion regulation skills in borderline personality disorder: an exploratory study. Nicolò Gaj and Raffaele Visintini San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy Introduction Emotional dysregulation is commonly considered as a core feature of borderline personality disorder. Many studies ascertain that difficulties in managing emotions and their resulting behavioral urges are at the basis of impulsive behaviors, such as non-‐suicidal self-‐injuries (Selby et al., 2013) and suicidal behaviors (Hamza et al., 2012). The biosocial theory (Linehan, 1993; Crowell et al., 2009) seems to suggest that emotional dysregulation implicates both temperament and character aspects, since both biological vulnerabilities and environmental
factors are thought to be involved in the development of the emotional dysregulation of BPD. However, this remains a controversial issue that needs more empirical research. Moreover, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), whose theoretical foundations plunge into the biosocial theory, is strongly based on mindfulness as a powerful mechanism of emotion regulation. Though, it is still unclear whether subjects with BPD lack in mindfulness skills and whether mindfulness relates to emotional regulation skills and temperament and character traits. The aim of the present research is to explore the relationships between emotion dysregulation, mindfulness and temperament and character traits in subjects with a BPD. Method Sample. 12 subjects with a BPD diagnosis (SCID II) dispatched to a daily intensive treatment for BPD. Assessment: Subjects are assessed at T0 with TCI-‐R, DERS, MAAS and FFMQ. Results Significant associations between aspects of mindfulness, emotional dysregulation and specific temperament (Harm Avoidance) and character traits (Self-‐Directedness, Self-‐Transcendence) are detected. Comment The results show that mindfulness skills and emotion regulation skills are linked both to temperament and character traits.
Emotional dysregulation and mindfulness in borderline personality disorder: an empirical study Cesare Maffei University Vita-‐Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Psychology, Milan, Italy Introduction Emotional dysregulation is considered both as a pathogenetic mechanism and a nuclear dysfunctional aspect in borderline personality disorder (Linehan, 1993). Treatments such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), that is demonstrated to be effective in borderline subjects, are based on mindfulness that is also considered as a powerful regulator of emotional dysregulation. At present empirical research on emotional dysregulation in borderline subjects is diffused and controversial as to the results, moreover it is unclear if borderline subjects lack mindfulness capacities, indeed empirical research on this subject is minimal. Aim of this research is: to study emotional reactivity in borderline subjects, compared to non-‐clinical ones, from different perspectives, that is subjective, psychophysiological and related to eyes movements; to evaluate mindfulness dispositional capacities and emotional dysregulation. to evaluate if mindfulness capacities are mediators of emotional regulation and if they have a different role in borderline and non-‐clinical subjects. Method Video clips. The stimulus set consisted of the Italian version of the 20 video clips extracted from commercial films and used by Hewig and colleagues (2005). Clips were designed to elicit target emotions of amusement, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and there were four emotionally neutral ones. Sample: The sample was composed of 16 females with borderline personality disorders compared to 16 non-‐clinical female adult subjects. Emotional dysregulation: was assessed using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Rating Scale (DERS) (Gratz and Roemer, 2004). Mindfulness: was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) (Baer et Al., 2008) and the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (Brown and Ryan, 2003). Subjective reactivity: participants were asked to watch
carefully every video clip and immediately fill in a short questionnaire. Psychopysiological reactivity: Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was assessed. Eyes Movements: saccadic eyes movements were assessed. Results The intensity of subjective reactivity of borderline subjects is spread, showing that not all of them react strongly to emotional stimuli, while from a qualitative perspective negative emotions are diffused and present also in pleasant and neutral videoclips. Borderline subjects are psychophysiologically dysregulated (sympathetic and para-‐sympathetic systems are unbalanced) and show a significant reduction of saccadic eye movements. Mindfulness capacities are a mediator of emotional activation in non-‐clinical subjects, but not in borderline ones. Comment Mindfulness capacities fail to regulate emotional dysregulation in borderline subjects.
Convenors: 1Ivan Nyklíček, PhD, 2Paul Grossman, PhD 1 Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic disease, Tilburg University, Netherlands 2Basel University Hospital, Switzerland, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine, Switzerland General abstract: Assessment of mindfulness is crucial for advances in mindfulness research, but also for clinical evaluations of effects obtained and mechanisms involved. Many different instruments for assessing mindfulness already exist, several of which have proved their usefulness in various contexts. However, there has been critique regarding existing instruments, which especially pertains to questions involving content and construct validity when used is certain contexts, such as intervention studies and studies comparing experienced mindfulness practitioners with naive controls. In addition, validated instruments are largely lacking for (i) assessment of momentary mindfulness, capturing day-‐by-‐day or even moment-‐by-‐moment variation, and (ii) the assessment of mindfulness by other than self-‐reports. In addition, from a conceptual point of view, the question may arise if all important aspects of mindfulness are covered by existing instruments. Therefore, in the present symposium, an overview will be presented of existing mindfulness assessment instruments and new assessment methods and instruments will be introduced. Data regarding their validity will be presented and the results will be critically discussed, among others from the perspectives of (i) theory and the concept of mindfulness, and (ii) the context of mindfulness assessment.
The Comprehensive Inventory of Mindfulness Experiences (CHIME): Construction and Validation Claudia Bergomi, Wolfgang Tschacher, & Zeno Kupper Department of Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland Introduction In this presentation, a new mindfulness self-‐report measure, the Comprehensive Inventory of Mindfulness Experiences (CHIME), will be presented. The questionnaire was constructed taking into account current critics to the self-‐report assessment of mindfulness. Method The coverage of aspects of mindfulness in the CHIME is based on a review of the aspects of mindfulness assessed by eight available mindfulness questionnaires and on analyses based on the first version of the questionnaire (N=313). The final version of the CHIME was validated in 661 individuals from the general population and MBSR groups. Results Factor-‐analytical procedures supported an eight-‐factor structure: awareness towards inner experiences (Cronbachs α=.73), awareness towards outer experiences (Cronbach's α=.73), acting with awareness (α=.70), acceptance (α=.86), decentering (α=.85), openness to experiences (α=.73), relativity of thoughts (α=.78) and insightful understanding (α=.82). The CHIME was strongly correlated to the Five Facet of Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), whereas each CHIME subscale showed the strongest association to the semantically related subscale of the FFMQ. Differential item functioning analyses suggested that the interpretation of the CHIME’s items does not systematically differ across groups differing in gender, age and meditation experience. Moreover, the CHIME did not show problematic patterns of association within its subscales nor with other measures. Cluster analyses produced groups differing in their response patterns, which were meaningfully related to meditation experience. Discussion The CHIME seems to be a valid new self-‐report instrument of mindfulness that extends mindfulness assessment to facets not captured by other instruments.
Mindfulness Assessment: A map of the Current Territory
Kirk Warren Brown Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA The assessment of mindfulness has become increasingly important in the field, is evolving rapidly, but the enterprise remains poorly understood. This presentation will discuss the current state-‐of-‐the-‐science on the predominant approach to assessment, namely self-‐report-‐ based methods, first reviewing the published measures, then highlighting key criteria for choosing psychometrically sound measures, the uses toward which the measures have been applied, and the strengths and limitations of this approach to mindfulness assessment. A brief preview of the developing field of mindfulness assessment, including the use of behavioral methods, will also be given.
Process research in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression using the Daily Mindfulness Scale Zeno Kupper, Eveline Aschwanden, Claudia Bergomi, Maija Dundure, Angela Lanz, & Wolfgang Tschacher University Hospital of Psychiatry, Department of Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Switzerland Introduction Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression (MBCT) has shown to be an effective intervention for the reduction of depressive relapse. However, processes of changes regarding mindfulness and changes in depression specific patterns such a cognitive reactivity to mood swings have rarely been researched in intensive longitudinal studies. Method A newly developed self-‐report measure (Daily Mindfulness Scale, DMS) was applied daily during the MBCT program, yielding 49 detailed daily reports. The self-‐reports included the assessment of mood, the mindfulness facets of present moment awareness, concentration and acceptance (Cronbach's α=0.88, 0.81 and 0.70 respectively). Additionally, participants filed a short qualitative report of their experience and mindfulness practice at a given day. 60 patients from MBCT groups were included in this study. These approaches allowed for single case studies, multiple time-‐series analyses, as well as for an analysis on a group level. Results Qualitative analysis allowed for the identification of typical obstacles and beneficial experiences from daily practice. The quantitative assessments allowed analyzing typical change processes during MBCT. Trends in the daily assessments of mindfulness correlated moderately (r=0.4-‐0.5) with pre-‐post changes, e.g. in symptoms (BSI), mindfulness (CHIME-‐β) and dysfunctional attitudes (DAS). Time series analysis aggregated on group level using vector-‐autoregression analysis suggested an associated change in cognitive reactivity. Discussion The assessment methods and analysis strategy used in this study seem both feasible in clinical practices and a promising approach to a more precise understanding of the processes of change during MBCT.
An Observational Measure of Mindful Awareness: Validation of the Assessment of Momentary Mindful Awareness (AMMA) Ivan Nyklíček, Jenny van Son Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic disease (CoRPS), Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Netherlands Introduction Mindfulness is paying full attention to the present moment without judgment. Self-‐report instruments for mindfulness assessment have been criticized. Therefore, the aim was to develop a new behavioral measure of mindfulness and examine its reliability and validity. Method The new measure, the Assessment of Momentary Mindful Awareness (AMMA) consists of verbally expressing one’s momentary experiences and thoughts, which are recorded and scored into different categories by trained raters. Thirty-‐five experienced meditators and forty-‐seven control participants matched on age and sex performed the AMMA and completed self-‐report instruments, among which the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ).
Results Intraclass correlations between two raters were satisfactory (>.80) for all but one category. The AMMA variables correlated with self-‐reported introspective interest and awareness of one’s emotions, but not with self-‐reported mindfulness, except Mindful Exteroception with FFMQ Observe (r =.28, p 80) participated in a 9-‐week group mindfulness training modified for youngsters with ASD. Their parents participated in a parallel 9-‐week group Mindful Parenting training. Questionnaires were rated by the youngsters, as well as their parents. Their behavior was also rated by the test observer, and computerized data of emotion recognition were acquired. Measurements were taken at pre-‐test, post-‐test and at eight weeks follow-‐up. Results: The results showed some improvement on social cognition and communication. In line, some improvements in emotion recognition were found. Worry did not change but rumination tendencies seemed to decrease. Attention and hyperactivity improved according to the test observer but not according to the parents. Parents rated themselves as more mindful in general and in their parenting. One patient dropped out after he started and adolescents attended 85% of the sessions. No parents dropped out, they attended 84% of the sessions. Response rate on all measurements was 100%. Discussion: Societal costs for treatment of patients with ASD are very high and hardly any evidence-‐based treatments are available. Therefore there is room for additional treatments. This study showed that Mindfulness training is feasible and acceptable in teenagers with ASD and their parents and although very preliminary, findings seem to be hopeful.
Mindfulness training for children with ASD: Results of a pilot study
Dr. Hans Nanninga Dimence, the Netherlands Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have elevated rates of anxiety and depression symptoms. Although these complaints impair their daily functioning and increase the risk for negative lifespan development, only few interventions have been developed. In this pilot study we tested the hypotheses that an eight week mindfulness based group treatment will decrease the anxiety and depressive symptoms in children with ASD and improve their quality of life. Method: 11 children with ASD (mean age 10.2 years, four girls, FSIQ > 80) participated in an 8-‐week group mindfulness training adjusted for children. Pre and post test data were analyzed on both a group and an individual level. Results: The results show a significant decrease of anxiety and depressive symptoms as measured by children’s self-‐
reports, and parent ratings. Parents did not report improvement of their child’s withdrawal behavior. Fathers and children reported significant improvement of the child’s psychological wellbeing and mothers reported significant improvement of the child’s physical wellbeing. Discussion: The training was evaluated as positive by children and parents. This combined with preliminary but positive findings indicates the potential of Mindfulness training in this group of children with chronic impairments.
Mindfulness-‐based therapy (MBT) in high-‐functioning adults with ASD
Dr. Annelies Spek GGZ-‐Eindhoven, Autism Center, the Netherlands Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at increased risk for developing co-‐ morbid psychiatric disorders. For instance, up to 50% of adults with ASD meet criteria for depression. Mindfulness-‐based therapy (MBT) has been found effective in reducing psychological symptoms of distress, anxiety and depression in several psychiatric populations. We aimed to examine the effectiveness of a modified mindfulness intervention in adults with ASD on symptoms of depression, rumination and general well-‐being. Method: 20 adults with ASD (mean age was 44) participated in a 9-‐week group MBT intervention. They were compared with 21 adults with ASD (mean age was 40) in a waitlist-‐control group. In both groups, seven female patients participated. All participants had average intelligence (FSIQ > 85). Results: The results showed a significant reduction in depression, anxiety and rumination in the intervention group, as opposed to the control group that did not show any changes. Furthermore, an increase in positive affect was found in the intervention group as opposed to the control group. The reduced depression and anxiety were partly due to the decrease in rumination tendencies. Discussion: The present study is the first to demonstrate that adults with ASD can benefit from MBT. Apparently, high-‐functioning adults with ASD are able to acquire meditation techniques and apply them in their home environment in a manner that diminishes their symptoms of depression, anxiety and rumination. This finding is particularly hopeful since it stresses opportunities in adults with ASD.
MINDFULNESS-‐BASED INTERVENTIONS FOR SEVERE AND ENDURING MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS: EVIDENCE OF EFFECTIVENESS AND PARTICIPANT EXPERIENCES Symposium Convenor: Dr Clara Strauss School of Psychology , University of Surrey, UK Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK General abstract: Evidence for the effectiveness and acceptability of mindfulness-‐based therapies (MBTs) for mental health conditions has mainly focused on those mental health problems typically seen in primary care populations. Do these positive findings generalise to people experiencing severe and enduring mental health conditions such as chronic depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis, where the severity of symptoms, distress and hopelessness presents a particular challenge?
This symposium will present data from four studies of MBT for people using secondary care mental health services and who are experiencing severe and enduring mental health conditions. The version of MBT is especially designed for this group of people (Chadwick, 2006). Findings from the four studies all support the potential benefits of this adapted form of MBT for people experiencing severe and enduring mental health conditions. The symposium papers will present on outcomes of these four studies as well as provide details of how and why MBT has been adapted for people with severe and enduring forms of distress.
Experience of mindfulness in people with bipolar disorder: A qualitative study Dr Lyn Ellett Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK Introduction Recent research suggests that mindfulness might be beneficial for individuals with bipolar disorder (BD, e.g. Williams et al, 2008, Miklowitz et al, 2009, Weber et al, 2010). However, it is also important to understand more about how mindfulness practice relates to living with and managing BD. The current study explored experiences of practising mindfulness and how this related to living with, and managing, BD. In particular, how do the unique challenges facing people with BD impact on mindfulness practice? What is the impact of mood state and mood change on mindfulness practice and how do participants find the range of mindfulness practices included within MBCT? Method 12 people with BD who had ‘relapsed’ within the past year, and reported struggling to cope, attended a mindfulness group: all 12 participated in semi-‐structured interviews exploring how mindfulness practice related to living with BD. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic qualitative analysis. Results Seven themes emerged from the analysis: focusing on what is present; clearer awareness of mood state/change; acceptance; mindfulness in different mood states; reducing/stabilising negative affect; relating differently to negative thoughts; and reducing impact of mood state. Discussion The themes suggested several benefits and some key challenges of mindfulness practice, as well as casting some light on how these changes occurred. The study suggests possible adaptations to MBCT for people struggling to manage their BD.
Mindfulness for Paranoid Beliefs: Evidence from two case studies.
Dr Lyn Ellett Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK Introduction Emerging evidence suggests that mindfulness can be beneficial for people with distressing psychosis. This study examined the hypothesis that for people with persecutory delusions in the absence of voices, mindfulness training would lead to reductions in conviction, distress, preoccupation and impact of paranoid beliefs, as well as anxiety and depression. Method
Two case studies are presented. Participants completed measures of mindfulness, anxiety and depression at baseline, end of therapy and 1 month follow up, and bi-‐weekly ratings of their paranoid belief on the dimensions of conviction, preoccupation, distress and impact. Results Ratings of conviction, distress, impact and preoccupation, and measures of anxiety and depression, reduced for both participants from baseline to end of intervention. Improvements in mindfulness of distressing thoughts and images occurred for both participants. These gains were maintained at 1 month follow up. Discussion Findings suggest that mindfulness training can impact on cognition and affect specifically associated with paranoid beliefs, and is potentially relevant to both Poor Me and Bad Me paranoia.
Group person based cognitive therapy for distressing voices: data from nine groups Dr Mark Hayward School of Psychology, University of Sussex UK & Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK Introduction There is emerging evidence supporting the integration of mindfulness and CBT approaches for psychosis offered in a group format. Two small studies of mindfulness groups for people with treatment-‐resistant positive symptoms of psychosis both found significant pre-‐post group improvement in general wellbeing (Chadwick et al., 2005; 2009). Person-‐Based Cognitive Therapy (PBCT: Chadwick, 2006) integrates traditional CBT for psychosis and mindfulness practice, with its explicit emphasis on acceptance of voice hearing. The present study examines the outcomes of group PBCT for distressing voices within an uncontrolled evaluation, and through interviews with participants. Method Sixty-‐two participants entered one of nine PBCT groups conducted over 8-‐12 sessions. Fifty participants completed therapy. Measures of well-‐being, distress, control and relating characteristics were completed pre-‐ and post-‐therapy and at brief follow-‐up. Data were subjected to an intention-‐to-‐treat analysis. Also, 28 participants were interviewed about their experience of the therapy and data were analysed using qualitative methods. Results There were significant improvements in well-‐being, distress, control and dependence upon the voice. Therapy-‐specific themes emerged from the qualitative analysis and suggested that each of the four domains of the PBCT model are important in facilitating change. Discussion The present study is the first to report significant improvement in both distress and control. Consequently, group PBCT for distressing voices may prove a useful addition to existing psychological interventions and is worthy of further investigation.
A mindfulness-‐based CBT group for chronic depression: A randomised controlled trial and participant experiences Dr Clara Strauss School of Psychology, University of Surrey UK & Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK Introduction Chronic depression occurs when symptoms of depression are unremitting for at least two years. CBT has disappointing outcomes for chronic depression. Mindfulness-‐based approaches teach participants to bring a non-‐judgemental stance towards difficult thoughts and feelings. Person-‐based cognitive therapy (PBCT) integrates CBT with a mindfulness based approach. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of group PBCT for chronic depression using an RCT design and interviews with participants. Method 28 participants were randomly allocated to a PBCT group or to treatment as usual (TAU), with depression score as the primary outcome. Six participants were interviewed about their experience of the therapy with data analysed using IPA. Results Intention-‐to-‐treat analysis found significant group by time interactions for both depression and mindfulness. Depression and mindfulness scores significantly improved for PBCT participants but not for TAU participants, with 64% of PBCT participants showing reliable improvement in depression, compared with 0% of TAU participants. Four therapy-‐specific themes emerged: increased awareness of experience, increased ability to accept difficult experience, greater self-‐compassion and ability to respond differently. Discussion Group PBCT is effective in reducing symptoms of depression and in improving mindfulness skills in comparison to TAU. Mindfulness aspects of the therapy were valued by participants. A dismantling study would now allow the different components of PBCT to be scrutinised.
Oral presentations (in alphabetical order, according to lecturers’ last names) Mindfulness and Yoga: Revitalizing the Hearts of Undergraduate Students Debra Alvis, Ph.D. The University of Georgia University students report a crisis of meaning and purpose. This crisis is expressed through an absence of engagement in academics and career goals. The dream of attending college has become an imperative no longer vitalized by interest and pleasure in learning. Instead, the college experience unfolds in reaction to introjected societal and parental values. Without meaning or purpose, students proceed on the belief that higher education and career are irrelevant and overwhelming stressors. Our institutions seek to address disengagement through creating stimulating environments. This experiential paper proposes that beyond fostering conducive environments, educators must teach students how to engage. Through tapping into neuroplasticity, mindfulness and yoga provide a technology for engagement. With repeated practice of this technology, the brain’s hardwiring changes enhancing the ability to focus and direct attention, the endocrine system secretes the relational hormone, and positive emotions increase allowing openness to new possibilities – all critical components of engagement. With the goal of teaching engagement, an undergraduate study skills course was redesigned. Each class period began with ten minutes devoted to mindfulness and yoga. Students completed a journal and reflective essay based on their home practices. A four week unit on focusing on whole brain learning offered additional flow experiences. Excerpts from journals and course evaluations evidence positive shifts towards intrinsic motivation, enhanced meaning in academics, and efficacy in meeting university requirements and life demands. Conference attendees will briefly review scientific findings evidencing the use of contemplative practices to foster engagement, participate in mindfulness and yogic class starters, and discuss application to other courses, age groups, courses, and educational settings.
Variations on the Presence of Mind: The Relation between Mindfulness and Mentalisation G. Amadei, C. Giovannini, A. Tagini University of Milano-Bicocca Mind-mindedness (Meins, 1997), a form of mentalising, was initially conceived as the tendency to adopt an intentional stance towards significant others. Wallin (2007) suggested that mindfulness can facilitate the development of mentalisation and other authors (Choi-Kain & Gunderson,2008) have pointed out areas of conceptual overlap between these constructs, although to date, no empirical studies were carried out. The aim of this study was to investigate the nature of the relation between mindfulness and mind-mindedness (relative to self), in participants with and without meditation experience. 117 adults (66 females; mean age=42.4; range 30-60) were divided into two groups according to their experience (N=37) or inexperience (N=80) with meditation techniques. Participants were administered the Italian version of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ; Giovannini et al., in press) to assess mindfulness. Mind-mindedness was evaluated by recording self-descriptions which were assessed with a coding scheme (Meins & Fernyhough, 1997), measuring the cognitive and emotional attributes employed. The results indicate that the
Observe factor of mindfulness (i.e.,the ability to attend to external and internal cognitions and emotions) correlated negatively with self-cognition in the meditation experienced group (r=-.388; p