In the last 40 years, there has been an increased interest and usage of mindfulness based therapy approaches to treat a variety of mental disorders. Mindfulness activities teach the individual to be aware of the experience by purposefully paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way (Kabat-Zinn & Hahn, 1990). Some of the most common therapeutic approaches that utilize mindfulness activities are Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
Emerging research now indicates that mindfulness based therapy may be a beneficial treatment approach for psychosis. Jacobsen, Morris and Johns (2010) studied the feasibility of using mindfulness based therapy groups on an inpatient unit. All participants in this study were currently on an inpatient unit that specializes in working with individuals with severe psychosis. Eight patients completed the study and the average length of contact with mental health services for these patients was 12 years (Jacobsen, et al., 2010).
In the study, group sessions met for a one hour session over the course of 6 weeks. Group session format was consistent across all sessions to provide familiarity and to accommodate those who were unable to attend all sessions (Jacobsen, et al., 2010). Each session included a two 10-minute mindfulness breathing exercises followed by group discussion based on protocols used by Chadwick and colleagues (2005). Discussions included the rationale for mindfulness therapy, how mindfulness can be utilized in distressing situations, and recent experiences with mindfulness.
The results of this study indicated that mindfulness based therapy groups are a feasible treatment option for individuals with psychosis who are currently at an inpatient hospital. Specifically, the study found individuals with psychosis do well in short sessions where they can reflect on personal experiences (Jacobsen, et al., 2010). The study noted that for a group to be successful on an inpatient unit is to ensure all members of the interdisciplinary team have an understanding of the skills to help promote patient participation outside of the group setting.
Chadwick, P., Newma-Taylor, K., & Abba, N. (2005). Mindfulness Groups for People with Psychosis. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 33, 351-359.
Jacobsen, P., Morris, E., Johns, L., & Hodkinson, K. (2010). Mindfulness Groups for Psychosis; Key Issues for Implementation on an Inpatient Unit. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 39, 349-353.
Kabat-Zinn, J., & Hanh, T. N. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. Delta.
Anissa Pugh, MA, LPA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern