Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mindfulness Journal

A posting on a professional journal reminded me of this: there's a journal called Mindfulness that's been around since March 2010. The journal is dedicated to mindfulness-based research. The reason why I mention it is that you can download all the articles for free. That's right--free!

Most scientific journals require that you pay--either by the article or through a subscription. Colleges and universities usually have subscription packages, as do some public libraries, although the public libraries tend to be more limited.

I don't know how long Mindfulness will be offered for free. My guess is that when it becomes popular enough to charge for, the publisher will start charging. In the meantime, download what you want.

You can check out Mindfulness here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NYT Article on Marsha Linehan and Dialectical Behavior Therapy

We've written in the past in Scientific Mindfulness about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), one of the early pioneers in mindfulness-based treatments. DBT is also hugely important in providing effective treatment for extremely suicidal people who how have difficult regulating their emotions--often diagnosed as borderline personality disorder. These are the kind of clients that many therapists in Portland still shy away from.

In this New Yorker Times article, University of Washington professor and core DBT originator Dr. Marsha Linehan talks about her own struggles with suicidality. This is the first time she's publicly come out about being hospitalized for 26 months when she was a teenager. During this time she was placed in seclusion, strapped down, and given electroconvulsive therapy. Dr. Linehan eventually devoted her life to helping people with the types of problems she had struggled with. As she says, 

“I decided to get supersuicidal people, the very worst cases, because I figured these are the most miserable people in the world — they think they’re evil, that they’re bad, bad, bad — and I understood that they weren’t,” she said. “I understood their suffering because I’d been there, in hell, with no idea how to get out.”

It's a stunning, public revelation from a very important researcher, clinician, and figure in psychology. To read the full article, click here.

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality DisorderSkills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mindfulness-Based Attention as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Depressive Affect and Negative Cognitions

Here’s another study in the growing body of research suggesting that mindfulness changes how we experience depression.

Researchers at Pacific University collected self-report measures of mindfulness, depression, and negative thinking from a sample of 278 undergraduates. Analyses suggest that there is a weaker relationship between negative thinking and depressive symptom for people higher in mindfulness than for people lower in mindfulness.

What might this mean?

The authors conclude that being more mindful may serve a protective function against becoming depressed when someone experiences negative thoughts. Conversely, less mindful people may be more likely to become depressed when they have negative thoughts.

The results are pretty limited. For one, this was a convenience sample of undergraduate students, not a sample of people with clinical depression. Also, because the results are correlational, we can’t draw any firm conclusions that one thing causes another. We can't tell from these results whether increasing mindfulness actually serves as a prophylactic against becoming depressed.

However, if you're interested in studies that tell us more about how mindfulness may impact how we experience depression, check out some of the past posts from Scientific Mindfulness on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. Additionally, a longitudinal study showed that less mindful police officers showed greater increases in depression over time compared to their more mindful counterparts.

For the full citation:

Gilbert, B.D., & Christopher, M.S. (2010). Mindfulness-Based Attention as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Depressive Affect and Negative Cognitions. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34, 514-521.

You might also be interested in some of these other books about mindfulness and depression: 

The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic UnhappinessThe Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Depression: Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to Move Through Depression & Create a Life Worth Living (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse

Id like to thank Molly Ellis for her help with this post!