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Research on effectiveness of Mindfulness reaches conclusion phase

Researchers at Bangor and Oxford Universities are drawing together the results of a major 5 year study, the results of which will be revealed later this year, into how effective the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programme can be in reducing the incidence of depression and suicidality for people with recurrent suicidal depression.

Mindfulness-based approaches teach people practical skills that can help with physical and psychological health problems and ongoing life challenges. Mindfulness is often defined as 'paying attention on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment’.  

This means developing the ability to pay deliberate attention to our experience from moment to moment. We learn to tune in to what is going on in our mind and body day to day without judging our experience. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do, however learning to do this in a way that suspends judgement and self criticism can have surprising results. Many people report finding inner strengths and resources that help them make wiser decisions about their health and life in general,” explains Rebecca Crane who directs the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University.

Bangor University published the first randomised trial on the effectiveness of Mindfulness- Based Cognitive Therapy in 2000 and since then five rigorous randomised trials have confirmed the early results.  These research projects demonstrate that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy halves the expected relapse rate in people with recurrent depression. Since 2004 the approach has been recommended for use within the UK Health Service for depression prevention by the government advisory body NICE (National Institute for Clinical and Health Excellence).

The Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University trains clinicians and other professionals to deliver mindfulness-based courses, and conducts research on the effectiveness of the approach in a range of settings including mindfulness for parents, for young people, for people with cancer and their carers and in work place settings.

 View a BBC item on Mindfulness with one of our teachers

Publication date: 3 January 2012