Mindfulness as Effective as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Study Suggests

Research suggests that mindfulness therapy is just as effective as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for treating conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress.

Furthermore, the treatment can be offered at a preferential rate in comparison to CBT.

This is according to a Swedish study, which found that group mindfulness therapy has an equally positive effect as individual CBT, while being available at a mere fraction of the cost.

Researchers from Lund University believe that group-based training could be utilised more widely in primary care in order to make the treatment available to a wider tranche of patients, while still delivering the same results as CBT.

Over 200 patients with depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders were recruited for the study, which ran for eight weeks in 2012.

Half of the group was allocated to group mindfulness sessions, while the other half was treated by more traditional CBT.

Patients filled in questionnaires before and following treatment to assess the intensity of a range of psychiatric symptoms, including general anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, interpersonal sensitivity, aggression and others.

And the results, published in the European Psychiatry journal, indicated that there was literally no difference in efficacy between the two control groups.

Lead author Professor Jan Sundquist stated his belief in mindfulness as a concept, and suggested that it could be embraced with more enthusiasm in the NHS system.

“Our research shows that mindfulness group therapy has the equivalent effect as individual CBT for a wide range of psychiatric symptoms that are common among this patient group. As mental illnesses are increasing at a very fast rate it is absolutely essential to expand the treatment alternatives for this patient group in primary healthcare. Our view is that the scarce resources should be partly reallocated to mindfulness group therapy so that the limited availability of individual psychotherapy can be utilised in an optimal fashion.”

Doctors of the World was founded in 1980 by a group of 15 French physicians, including Bernard Kouchner.

It works in both the developed and developing world, with the aim of “go where others will not, to testify to the intolerable, and to volunteer”.


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