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Mindful : August 2016
going on in your mind and body can be a powerful way to come to under- stand your emotions better, and to ride and regulate them. While I’ve never thought meditation brought instantaneous magical powers—such that someone like Harry, writhing in mental anguish in his pajamas in his kitchen, could simply sit down, meditate, and have his troubles go poof—early scientific evidence and anecdotal reports of meditators lead one to wonder whether mindfulness could be a means to provide mental healing and stability for the many millions of people suffering depres- sion, other mood disorders, and men- tal health challenges generally. Could mindfulness, in fact, be the future of psychotherapy? To take on this question I talked with two clinical psychologists and researchers who care deeply about mindfulness and therapy. In fact, Zindel Segal and Sona Dimidjian had recently finished a paper on the prospects for ongoing scientific study of mindfulness-based inter ventions (published in the October 2015 issue of American Psychologist). They asked what it might take for mindfulness to have a lasting impact on public health within our mental health systems, and in particular what kind of scientific research would be required. Segal is one of the developers and found- ers of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Dimidjian, who has taught MBCT for many years, including together with Segal, has collaborated with him to create Mind- ful Mood Balance, a program they are piloting that would allow people to take MBCT at a distance, using their phone, tablet, or computer. Among his several disting uished positions, Segal is the Director of Clinical Training in the Graduate Department of Clinical Psychological Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough, so he is intimately involved in the training of a next gen- eration of mental health clinicians. At our first lunch, down the street from the U of T, he wanted to talk about mindfulness not as something that would “replace” therapy and existing therapeutic methods and systems, but that would leverage the power of therapy by providing another “skills-based” approach with results supported by research. Segal is a great interlocutor, which is no surprise, since cognitive therapy is all about an inquiring dialog ue about what’s going on in your mind. He began a little rhetorical conversation: “ What is therapy really good at historically?” “Insight.” “But are insights enough?” → 16 million adults are affected by depression In 2014, nearly 16 million adults aged 18 or older in the US had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. ILLUSTRATIONBYKEVINVANAELST