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Mindful : August 2016
A SITUATION You run into a good friend at the coffee shop before work. She’s with other people and barely notices you. B THOUGHT “She hates me, just like everybody hates me.” C FEELING Sadness, border- ing on depression. ACTIVATING EVENT (OR SITUATION) BELIEFS (OR THOUGHTS) CONSEQUENCES (OR FEELINGS) A SITUATION Your boss asks you to fix a small mis- take you made. B THOUGHT “He thinks I’m really bad at what Ido,andIam.” C FEELING Deeper sadness, which colors per- ception of future situations. the thought process that is getting them into trouble (cognitive distor- tions, or what some people call “nega- tive self-talk,” or “stinkin’ thinkin’”). It takes close attention and stick- to-itiveness to make it work, which is why a practice that allows one to develop the habit of seeing thoughts without immediately reacting could be an ideal adjunct to the cognitive practice—and in fact create a hybrid that is more than the combination of the two. When CBT meets mind- fulness, the emphasis shifts from changing or fixing the content of our challenging thoughts to becoming more intimately and consistently aware of these thoughts and patterns. The awareness itself reduces the grip of persistent and pernicious thought loops and storylines. Segal, Williams, and Teasdale collaborated to create an eight-week program modeled on MBSR. Jon Kabat-Zinn—who developed MBSR— had some initial misgivings about the program, fearing the curricu- lum might insufficiently emphasize how important it is for instructors to have a deep personal relationship with mindfulness practice. Once he got to know the founders better, he became a champion for the program. In 2002, the three published Mind- fulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse, now a landmark book. MBCT’s credibility rests firmly on ongoing research. The MBCT website currently lists 11 key research papers. Chief among them are two randomized clinical trials (published in 2000 and 2008 in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology) indicating MBCT reduces rates of relapse by 50% among patients who suffer from recurrent depression. Recent findings, published in The Lancet last year, show combining a tapering of medication with MBCT is as effective as an ongoing mainte- nance dosage of medication. As is typical for mindfulness-based interventions, no overarching body governs MBCT, but a number of very qualified senior teachers have taken → Your sad mood affects the nex t situation you find yourself in. We very often miss the thought that gives birth to the feeling. Mindfulness helps us notice that thought. ABC MODEL OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS THE ABCs IN ACTION August 2016 mindful 51