Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Beautiful Breath » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:21 pm

I am a Psycholgical Therapist. I am seeing a growing number of people being trained in "Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy" who are then let loose in our hospitals and surgeries 'teaching' what many of us have been doing for decades. I for one feel a little agreived at this for many reasons not least of which is the implication that after a years study at a University and a one 5 day retreat they're somehow 'qualified' to teach what is effectively a Buddhist practice and getting paid for it....am I missing something here or is this money making on the back of a 2,500 year old philosophy?

What next...Prayer Based Cognitive Therapy. Graduates telling Christians how to pray???

Thoughts?

BB...
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:55 pm

It seems that MBCT is designed for a specific group of people (recovered from depression or major depression), and not to all people. I think this spirit of adapting mindfulness to the situation of the patient is very beneficial, for there are people who cannot use mindfulness; and others may use it, but with caution.

However, I think the inovation here, in therms of adaptation of mindfulness, is very superficial. The emphasis is on non-judgemental atitude. I think the traditional mindfulness training (wether it is Mahasi, Goenka, thai forest, etc) of satipatthana is applicable to situations such as the described. And these aproaches have much deeper goals than avoiding depression relapse.

I've listened to an interview with a person who had major depression and who went for a retreat in Burma, doing Mahasi style vipassana. He reported that at a certain point he crushed the depression-associated thoughts with his mindfulness and that he got out of the retreat feeling fine. He was doing this for the second time, because he relapsed from the first recovery.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Beautiful Breath » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:48 am

Thats my whole point though...taking a 'bit' of a complex and comprehensive philosophy and offering it as a new bent is ehically fragile. These practices have been a part of a philosophy/religion for longer than modern Psychology got its mits on it.

I have been offering Mindfulness base therapy for years without any other qualification other than twenty years personal experience. I would relish the thought of someone challenging this - You cannot offer an academic qualification in a religious practice....its utterly ludicrous and to ask for payment for something that has been offered free for centuries is just wrong!

I really think this needs 'outing' somehow!
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby FatDaddy » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:17 pm

As a long time mediator and occasional consumer of mental health services, I share your concern. I find tremendous benefit in embracing the Buddha’s path as a whole, not picking and choosing based on my own cultural filters. It is hard for me to understand the benefit of amputating one small part of the Buddha’s teachings and practicing that exclusively.

On the other hand, I cannot begrudge people doing something that is helpful to them. As a professional, have you seen any hard evidence that this sort of thing works?
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:03 pm

I share in your aggrevation. I'm a therapist/ counselor, and if one more person markets "mindfulness" as the newest, hippest therapy, I'm moving to Bhutan.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:02 pm

After my mom died, even tho i had been a practicing buddhist for a few years, my mindfulness slipped. I was so depressed i could barely move. MBCT got me back in the habit of mindfulness and paying attention to what i was thinking and was a great help to me. I dont understand the objections to it. If it alleviates suffering and is easy to teach and learn, isnt this a good thing?
Who cares if it is not taught as buddhism, every mind thinks, every mind attends and as far as i know buddhists dont have exclusive rights to thinking and attention. This is relieving suffering, wasnt that the promise? If it isnt pious enough for you or you feel its encroaching on your territory, console yourself with the idea that this therapy makes people happier.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:22 pm

I think the question here is the morals of charging money for teachings. It's like they made a patent on (a small part of) the Buddha's teachings on mindfulness and then sold it. It reminds me of that guy that patented a yoga sequence and then prosecuted whoever taught that sequence.

Like I said previously, I'm in favour of adapting mindfulness to mental pathologies, but this has to be a real inovation; a fruit of deep investigation by mental health professionals with deep knowledge of the mental processes characteristic of each pathology, not just a small and shallow innovation.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:30 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:I think the question here is the morals of charging money for teachings.


Ok, i can see your point. On the other hand, mindfulness taught in this way reaches people that wouldnt be helped if it were taught in a religious context. Many would reject it out of hand if it were taught as buddhism, or as any religion for that matter. Also, if the people teaching it are helping others, shouldnt they be compensated for their time? People have to make a living.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:42 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:I think the question here is the morals of charging money for teachings.


Ok, i can see your point. On the other hand, mindfulness taught in this way reaches people that wouldnt be helped if it were taught in a religious context. Many would reject it out of hand if it were taught as buddhism, or as any religion for that matter. Also, if the people teaching it are helping others, shouldnt they be compensated for their time? People have to make a living.


I also think there is an issue of quality controls. The MBCT camp states that to achieve certification in that modality, a therapist undergoes "extensive" (read "expensive") supervised training, but in the end the training is minor compared to the experience of good meditation teachers.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby lojong1 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:18 pm

I took the basic and advanced courses that were available to me, and left assured that one could not possibly think, say, or do anything wrong.
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby seeker242 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:45 pm

Perhaps it's just me but I think it's a positive thing that Buddhist techniques are now filtering into modern day psychology. Research supports the effects of MBCT in people who have been depressed three or more times and demonstrates reduced relapse rates by 50%. I don't see how that can be a bad thing if it actually does help people. Of course the intent of the people teaching it matters a great deal IMO. If their only intent is to help people in a better way to help alleviate their suffering, I would not see that as a "money making scheme", etc. I would see it as modern day psychology piggybacking onto a 2,500 year old philosophy that actually works quite good. So is the intent to make money or help people? I think the intent is, for the most part, to help people.
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Re: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:50 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:I am a Psycholgical Therapist. I am seeing a growing number of people being trained in "Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy" who are then let loose in our hospitals and surgeries 'teaching' what many of us have been doing for decades. I for one feel a little agreived at this for many reasons not least of which is the implication that after a years study at a University and a one 5 day retreat they're somehow 'qualified' to teach what is effectively a Buddhist practice and getting paid for it....am I missing something here or is this money making on the back of a 2,500 year old philosophy?


I share your concern. I went on on a taster day and I wasn't very impressed, basically it was a set of exercises pinched from the Satipatthana Sutta, not all that well introduced or explained.
But what's your view more generally on the effectiveness of mindfulness as therapy? Do you think it has a useful role to play, and should it be brought more into the mainstream?
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