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.
As we’ve been discussing over the last few weeks, current trends are shifting away from a symptom-based, disorder-specific approach that prescribes different treatment interventions for separate disorders. Instead, there is increasing interest in and support for an approach that focuses on the common psychological processes underlying presenting symptoms of different disorders that contribute to mental health problems.
A new study published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy entitled “iRest Yoga-Nidra on the College Campus: Changes in Stress, Depression, Worry, and Mindfulness” (Eastman-Mueller, Wilson, Jung, Kimura, and Tarrant, 2013) found that the iRest yoga nidra program, developed by psychologist Richard E. Miller, may reduce symptoms of perceived stress, worry, and depression while increasing mindfulness-based skills among college students. In the study, students participated in two hours of the yoga nidra program for a period of eight weeks.
As of 2013, there are twelve anxiety-disorder diagnoses and over twenty-five subtypes and categories of these disorders, with specific treatments for about half of them. Research has demonstrated that these treatments, particularly cognitive behavioral ones (Hofmann and Smits 2008; Norton and Price 2007), help most people recover from anxiety disorders. Over the last few years, however, researchers have studied the effectiveness of general, rather than specific ones for anxiety disorders.
Psychological flexibility, the general goal of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), has been proven by a convincing body of evidence to be associated with a range of favorable outcomes in the workplace setting, particularly regarding worker’s well-being and effectiveness. Studies have repeatedly shown that ACT interventions yield significant improvements in general mental health, and have shown potential for improving work performance indicators such as potential for innovation, and numbers of sick days.