Mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention

Mindfulness as a Therapeutic Intervention. In the health professions, including psychology and medicine, mindfulness is gaining popularity for its ability to help people respond more skillfully to internal experiences that contribute to emotional distress and maladaptive behavior (Bishop, 2002; Bishop et al., 2004). Siegal (2007) suggested, “the general clinical benefits of mindfulness is that the acceptance of one’s situation may alleviate the internal conflict[s] that may emerge when expectations of how life should be fail to match how life actually is” (Kaufman, Glass, Arnkoff, 2009 p. 336). As in the TOTE model, the comparator more easily accepts discrepancies and decreases emotional responses, thus improving self-regulation of goal-directed behaviors. Anderson, Lau, Segal, and Bishop (2007) suggested that mindfulness-based interventions are clinically effective for a wide range of conditions (See Bishop, 2002; Bishop et al., 2004).

Kabat-Zinn (1982) introduced mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a manualized treatment program. MBSR was originally for the management of chronic pain (Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth, & Burney, 1985; Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth, Burney, & Sellers, 1986). MBSR facilitates the reduction of many affective symptoms associated with various medical illnesses, stress and anxiety in healthy individuals, and depressive relapse (Anderson et al., 2007; Kabat-Zinn, 1998). MBSR also eases stress and improves emotional well-being in nonclinical samples (Anderson et al., 2007).

Mindfulness is also popular as a therapeutic intervention in multiple theoretical orientations (e.g., dialectical behavior therapy).  Mindfulness reduces self-harm and suicidal behavior in individuals with borderline personality disorder (Bishop et al., 2004; Linehan, Armstrong, Saurez, Allmon, & Heard, 1991). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy reduces the rate of relapse in patients with recurrent major depression (Bishop et al., 2004; Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, Lau, 2000). Mindfulness may help treat generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, and eating disorders (Roemer & Orsillo, 2002; Wells, 1999).