Mindfulness For COINTELPRO Victims #1

Depression and Mindfulness

    Depression is one of the most serious mental illnesses, which can even lead to suicide. Although quite a few people suffer from this mental disease, there is no “magic pill” to cure depression. If we can find an effective treatment, it will be a great relief for patients. As a matter of fact, meditation is now considered to be the one. However, in Japan it is reported that some temples refuse to accept people with depression for their meditation activities, since they believe meditation could deteriorate symptoms of depression. Therefore, in this journal, I will discuss whether meditation, especially the one introduced as “mindfulness meditation,” could help improve mental health of people with depression. To begin with, there is a significant research on this topic with the title of “How Does Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Work?” (Kuyken, et al, 2010).

     In Kuyken’s research, a sample of 123 patients was collected randomly from people who had suffered from symptoms of depression three times or more and were receiving therapeutic dose. Subsequently, mindfulness based cognitive therapy was given to these patients. Then, they were divided into two groups; one group continued medication dose simultaneously, and the other group stopped taking any medication and received mindfulness based cognitive therapy only. The researcher observed if any depression symptoms relapsed or recurred to the patients over 15 months and examined their severity of symptoms. Recurrence means patients’ making negative judgments towards their own thoughts and consequent suffering from hurtful mood. Recurrence is caused by habitually reacting to the negative thoughts. This symptom is also called “reactivity” in this research.

    The researcher found that after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was provided to the patients, they experienced less severity of depression symptoms. As a matter of fact, the patients still encountered recurrence, such as self-aversion and self-judgment, in the first three sessions of mindfulness therapy. Some of them reported that they thought: “I am just more aware of how badly I feel.” Nevertheless, they became able to step back from their negative thoughts, and prevent self-criticism from generating bad mood. In other words, they learned to “consciously choose thoughts, emotions, and sensations rather than habitually react to them” (Kuyken, et al, 2010). The cognitive skill which enabled the patients to "conciously choose" their reactions was voluntary awareness of here and now, that is to say, mindfulness.           

     In terms of generalizability, on the other hand, the researcher admits that they need more replicating researches since their small sample and binary outcome in the recurrence were not adequate to make solid conclusion. Moreover, the research probably needs cross-cultural study on the relationship between self-criticism and depression. For instance, in Japanese culture, self-criticism is not necessarily regarded as a bad habit, and self-criticism does not relate to depression as often as in the Western culture.

     Nonetheless, it is significant that Kyuken’s research asks not “Does mindfulness-based cognitive therapy work?” but “How does mindfulness-based cognitive therapy work?” To answer this question, the researcher implemented another experiment to identify what aspects of mindfulness therapy worked for improvement of depression care. They discovered that enhancement of self-compassion had nullified the relationship between reactivity and its detrimental consequences. In a nutshell, detachment from their negative thoughts is the step stone to better handling with depression symptoms, and mindfulness practice, even for several months, can enhance the skill.      


Kuyken, Willem; Watkins, Ed; Holden, Emily; White, Kat; Taylor, Rod S.; Byford, Sarah; Evans, Alison; Radford, Sholto; Teasdale, John D.; Dalgleish, Tim. (2010)  How does mindfulness-based cognitive therapy work? Behaviour Research and Therapy, Vol 48(11), Nov 2010.

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The Writer of 『拝啓 ギャングストーカー犯罪者の皆様』(Dear COINTELPRO Criminals) and <集団ストーカーの死> The Death of Gangstalker; also Co-Editor of 「新しいタイプの人権侵害・暴力」 Unprecedented Human Rights Violation

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