Editor’s Note: The following is a Q&A with Karen Bluth, PhD, a mindfulness teacher, researcher, and one of the lead authors of a paper published this January in the journal Mindfulness, which examined the efficacy of Learning to BREATHE or L2B, a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents in an alternative school for ethnically diverse, at-risk teens.
When it comes to treatment for psychosis, CBT and acceptance- and mindfulness-based approaches have, at times, been assumed to be incongruent with respect to the goals of “control” and “change.” However, in their integration these approaches can complement one another by emphasizing the understanding, exploration, observation, and acceptance of thoughts and feelings rather than the “stopping” and “controlling” of unwanted thoughts and feelings.
Psychotherapeutic modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) have proven to be effective for a range of psychiatric and psychosocial difficulties including depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, and personality disorders. But when it comes to treating psychosis, CBT and other forms of psychotherapy have historically received less attention, owing to the traditional reliance on pharmacological strategies for treating psychotic disorders.
Any practicing therapist can identify with the feeling of flying by the seat of your pants in a session—banking on your experience and foundational clinical skills to see you through. But for the majority of us, flying by the seat of our pants can land us on our behinds when it comes to acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
Across the majority of contemporary psychotherapeutic modalities, mindfulness is used in one way or another. Whether your particular approach is entirely mindfulness-based or you simply incorporate mindfulness practice as a tool in treatment, there is an increasing demand for mental health professionals who can develop effective treatment protocols that incorporate mindfulness, suited to the needs of individual clients.