Tag Archive: meditation


A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook

by Bob Stahl, PhD and Elisha Goldstein, PhD

I have a confession: I am a huge fan of Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Dr. Kabat-Zinn is the founder/father of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a non-religious form of meditation, that is based on training our consciousness to be in the “present moment”.  This type of meditation can be learned though attending 8-week MBSR classes or clinics (of which there are presently none in Oklahoma), figuring it out from Kabat-Zinn’s book: Full Catastrophe Living, or by attending professional training programs.  Dr. Kabat-Zinn leads such programs through the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and Watsonville, CA…neither of which are convenient to Edmond Oklahoma.  While I may still attend one of these courses eventually, I was thrilled to find another option:  “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.” Written by two of Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s students, Bob Stahl, PhD and Elisha Goldstein, PhD., this workbook presents Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Stress Reduction program (MBSR) in an easily accessible workbook-style that is intended for self-study by individuals.

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook does a wonderful job of leading the individual step-by-step into a meditative practice while explaining the mind-body connections.  It includes mp3 files of guided meditations, a “must” for beginners, and includes sections on mind-body yoga as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approaches for anxiety and stress. Although it would be preferable to attend the full eight week MBSR program, this workbook is a delight for those who are unable to do so, yet desire the benefits of mindful living.

 

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Traumatized children living in Kosovo experienced significant reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms when treated with a mind-body program according to a new study published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (8/12/08. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur in response to traumatic events. Common symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares or difficulty sleeping, feeling emotionally numb, being easily startled and difficulty concentrating.

The mind-body techniques used in the study were developed by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) and included meditation, biofeedback, breathing techniques, guided imagery and self expression. Eighty-two high school students diagnosed with PTSD were included in the three-month long study. Instructors trained in the CMBM program provided 12 sessions, in small educational settings.

Patients in the mind-body group experienced a significant improvement in PTSD symptoms compared to the control group. The number of children with PTSD symptoms decreased from 100 percent to 18 percent by the end of the study. The techniques reduced stress and symptoms of withdrawal, as well as decreased the frequency of flashbacks and nightmares. The effects were maintained three months after the study.

This mind-body technique is currently being used to treat people in Israel and Gaza who are traumatized by war, as well as those traumatized by Hurricane Katrina in southern Louisiana. It is also used to treat depression in the United States and has been added to a stress reduction program in several U.S. medical schools.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry represents the first randomized controlled trial of any intervention in war-traumatized children.