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Mind – fullness and MBCT
Mind – fullness and MBCT
Mind – fullness and MBCT by Medhina ‘Mindfulness’ is the usual translation of a mental training called ‘sati’ by ancient traditions of India. As a result of the pioneering work begun by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the USA in the 1980’s the health benefits of mindfulness have now been recognized by the NHS in the UK. Kabat- Zinn introduced mindfulness meditation to patients who were referred to his clinic for chronic conditions which had been medically treated without success. People with high blood pressure, chronic back pain, recurrent depression, and other debilitating conditions learnt to incorporate mental training with body work in a holistic approach to health and well being. The treatment was structured into an eight week course which he called ‘ Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction - MBSR’, described in detail in his book ‘The Full Catastrophe’ published in the 90’s. Since then research at Bangor University in Wales, and at the Oxford University Psychology Dept has provided the evidence for the success of the programme in reducing the recurrence of depression. Cognitive therapy is integrated with the meditation and body work to bring it up to date and restructure it as MBCT. This led to ‘NICE’[govt body for the recognition of excellence in clinical practice] recommending it for the alleviation of depression . Work continues in Manchester collecting a large body of evidence for its efficacy with long term pain relief. Those familiar with meditation will recognize elements of vipassana meditation and yoga, made simple and accessible to the man/woman-in-the- street[– no contortions involved!]; and counsellors will recognize elements of psychotherapy. The programme is not personal therapy but a training in self management, and is taught to a group as a tool box of many techniques to change difficult conditions. Many Buddhist meditators are entering the field of presenting the course, as are many psychotherapists. Of course the best combination is someone familiar with both disciplines. As yet the field is unregulated and the quality of provision unmonitored, but Bangor University have published a guide to good practice and run courses for intending, or already practicing MBCT facilitators. Brighton and Hove have established a network of MBCT trainers who meet once a month to exchange ideas. I have a question to pose:- I support whole heartedly the use of all skilful means to reduce suffering, and create energy for wider potential I wonder …….. Can Mindfulness be extracted from its ‘religious’ base without losing something of its integrity? A secular context is maybe not addressing interconnectedness, and the ethics that underpin the complete teaching.
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