The evolution of treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) began with traditional strategies for managing mental illness; before the practice of psychotherapy was really developed, disorders like OCD were viewed as spiritual or moral issues, with the problem being the thoughts themselves, rather than the sufferer’s relationship to them. Then, following the emergence of the psychoanalytic model, talk therapy became the new standard of treatment for coping with obsessions and compulsions: in it, they were treated as symbolic manifestations of subconscious problems.
Researcher Stanley Block, MD, developed Mind-Body Bridging, a holistic approach to healing and wellness based on the I-System, an internal system we each have that essentially overrides our ability to function naturally when we are triggered by stressful situations (see last week’s post for a more in-depth look at Block’s definition of the I-System).
The skill of mindfulness develops from one’s ability to notice how the mind deals with the information it receives through sensory processes and the brain. By analyzing how your mind organizes, interacts with, and assigns meaning to your thoughts, you can observe the patterns and ingrained tendencies by which you frame and evaluate the world. The goal of mindfulness practice among OCD sufferers is to cultivate a positive relationship between the you and the mind.
As mindfulness has become deeply entrenched in today’s most utilized and accepted psychotherapy modalities, there have been various incarnations of mindfulness-based approaches to healing and wellness. Of course not all mindfulness-based therapies are created equal; some are backed by research and others aren’t. One approach of the former group, Mind-Body Bridging (MBB) was developed and meticulously researched for nearly 20 years by physicians, psychologists, researchers, and mental health and substance abuse professionals.
Editor’s note: This is the second half of a two-part Q&A with Sameet Kumar, PhD, author of Mindfulness for Prolonged Grief. If you missed the first half, you can check it out here.
Following changes to the DSM-5, most significantly the removal of the “bereavement exclusion” from diagnoses of depression and adjustment disorder, is there a potential now for the increased “medicalization” of those suffering with grief?
Grief is a complex issue to treat. The practice of mindfulness meditation can give the client a greater sense of awareness and well-being in a grieving client’s waking life, but trouble sleeping due to disturbing dreams is a common symptom that can take a toll on her emotional and physical reserves.
The reluctant client comes in many different shapes and sizes. She may be legally mandated to attend therapy by a court of law, a medical insurance agency, or a government welfare agency. He may be coerced by a partner who threatens to leave him or a boss who threatens to fire him unless he “sorts himself out.” She may be pushed into it by well-meaning friends or relatives or by health professionals, such as her general practitioner. But whatever triggered the visit, one thing’s for sure: reluctant clients aren’t enthusiastic, willing, or open.
The Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) model rests on the concept of workability. An ACT therapist asks, “Is what you’re doing working to give you a rich, full, and meaningful life?” If the answer is yes, the behavior is workable. If the answer is no, it’s unworkable.