Mindfulness-based interventions, like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have been demonstrated to be useful in reducing general distress, pain, depression and anxiety. This symposium ranges from investigating mediators of the effects of mindfulness practice on well being to a mindfulness based innovative treatment approach for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after interpersonal violence. First Susan Evans will present data from a pilot study that examined the role of self-compassion in an 8-week MBSR program with a community-based sample. Results indicate improvement in well-being along with increases in mindfulness and self-compassion. Furthermore, self-compassion mediated the relationship between mindfulness and well-being. Results suggest that mindfulness may provide a pathway to cultivating self-compassion, which may be associated with enhanced wellbeing. Second Stella Kümmerle will present results from a comparison of PTSD patients, depressive patients and healthy controls with respect to mindfulness, compassion and emotion regulation. In this comparison both patient groups demonstrated less mindfulness skills and self-compassion than the healthy controls and used more maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. Results confirm the relevance of interventions including mindfulness and compassion in the treatment of both disorders. Based on this, Meike Müller-Engelmann will present data form a multiple-baseline study that evaluated a new intervention for survivors of interpersonal violence that combines psychoeducation and short mindfulness-based exercises with formal practices from MBSR and loving-kindness meditation. The majority of the completers showed a significant reduction of PTSD symptoms and a significant increase in well-being. Effects on PTSD symptoms, depression and psychological distress were large.
Chair: Dr. Meike Müller-Engelmann
Presenters: Dr. Susan Evans (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA), Stella Kümmerle (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany), Dr. Meike Müller-Engelmann (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)
Title: Self-compassion mediates well-being in a mindfulness based stress reduction program in a community-based sample.
Presenter: Susan Evans, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Weill Cornell Medicine,New York, USA
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is useful for a range of problems including anxiety, pain, and coping with a medical illness. As the field matures there is a growing interest in mediational factors associated with the beneficial effects of MBSR. Self-compassion, a construct of increasing focus in empirical study, may play a role in the change process leading to improvement in well-being.
The goal of this pilot study was to examine the role of self-compassion in producing improved well-being following an 8-week MBSR program in a community-based sample. Participants engaged in a MBSR program at a major academic medical center and completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS), Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) pre- and post-MBSR course.
Results demonstrated significant reduction of symptoms on the POMS and significant increases on the MAAS and SCS at the end of the program, indicating notable improvements in well-being. Mediation analyses demonstrated that changes in self-compassion mediated the relationship between mindfulness and well-being following MBSR training (serial indirect effects: β = -9.45, CI (-39.06, -7.50)).
These results suggest that mindfulness may provide a pathway to cultivating self-compassion in MBSR, which may be associated with enhanced well-being.
Title: Mindfulness, Compassion and Emotion regulation strategies: a comparison of PTSD patients, depressive patients and healthy controls
Presenter: Stella Kümmerle
Affiliation: Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
According to various studies using different clinical and healthy samples, reduced mindfulness skills, lack of compassion and difficulties in emotion regulation are associated with higher levels of psychopathology. The aim of this study was to compare PTSD patients, depressive patients and healthy controls with regard to mindfulness, self-compassion, compassionate love for others and difficulties in emotion regulation using a multi-method approach.
To assess for inclusion and exclusion criteria diagnostic interviews were conducted in all three groups (N = 33, each group). The Mindful Breathing-Exercise was completed in order to assess state-mindfulness, the ability to observe one’s breath without distraction. Self-reported data was collected for trait-mindfulness, self-compassion, compassionate love and difficulties in emotion regulation.
A high amount of PTSD patients also met diagnostic criteria for depression. Both patient groups demonstrated less trait- and state-mindfulness and self-compassion than healthy controls and more difficulties in emotion regulation, whereas no differences were found between both patient groups. Furthermore, results indicated no differences between all three groups with regard to compassionate love for others.
The high comorbidity between both disorders has to be considered. Results confirm the relevance of interventions including mindfulness and compassion in the treatment of both disorders.
Title: Mindfulness and loving-kindness in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after interpersonal violence: a multiple-baseline study
Presenter: Meike Müller-Engelmann, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
New meta-analyses demonstrate that mindfulness based interventions are suitable to reduce PTSD symptoms, as mindfulness practice reduces avoidance and allows the patient to get in touch with distressing trauma related memories, thoughts and feelings. Another promising approach are loving-kindness meditations that reduce self-criticism and strengthen the feeling of belongingness.
Fourteen patients with PTSD after interpersonal violence participated in eight treatment sessions. The intervention combines psychoeducation and PTSD specific mindfulness-based exercises with formal practices from mindfulness-based stress reduction and loving-kindness meditation. The intervention was evaluated in a multiple-baseline design. From baseline until an eight-week follow-up, self-reported PTSD symptoms and well-being were measured weekly. The intervention was further assessed through self-ratings and the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5).
The majority of the twelve completers showed a significant reduction of PTSD symptoms and a significant increase in well-being. We found large effects on PTSD symptoms as measured by the CAPS-5 (Cohen’s d = 1.7), as well as on depression (d = 1.2) and psychological distress (d = .9), complemented by relevant increases in mindfulness skills and self-compassion.
This study contributes evidence that mindfulness and loving-kindness are promising new interventions for reducing PTSD in victims of interpersonal violence.