depression and the church Baptist Times online article by Cathy Wield
The Baptist Times Online has recently run an article by Cathy Wield, about the church and depression. The link is above, as is the link to her own website. Out of her experience of depression she has written a book called A Thorn in My Mind, Mental Illness, Stigma and the Church, published by Instant Apostle.
I have met Cathy and read the book in one sitting. It is an extraordinary book which left me full of hope, but also stretched my windows of tolerance for dealing with other people’s pain. I came across these words this morning by theologian Boros, ‘He (Christ) created within himself a place for every encounter. He was unreservedly receptive.’ (‘Encountering Reality’ by Bishop George Appleton & Debbie Davies, published by Amate Press, Oxford, p. 13).
I know that I don’t have a place within that is able to be unreservedly attentive to every encounter. But that is an aspiration. That is what it means to be mindFull within the Christian perspective.
Columba poem by Kenneth C Steven, the poet reads… (click on this link)
In Josephine Hart’s book Words That Burn – How to read Poetry and why, she begins her introduction with these words.
‘How do you possess a poem? Well, ‘same as for love’. Pay attention to it. Listen to it. It will speak to you on the page. Silently. Or you may wish, as the critic Harold Bloom advises, to speak it out loud to yourself…’ (p.1).
You can also (best of all) hear it read out, live with the poet, or a recording of it. As Josephine Hart goes on to say, ‘The poetry sounds out and I ‘trip..into the boundless’, as Frost described it.’ (p.1)I think the oral performance is the most primal form.
This is a poem by Kenneth C Steven called Columba. Click on the link and you can hear the poem sound out…and you may trip into the boundless. A perceptive person introduced me to his poetry.
The mindful experiment is becoming aware of where the poem takes you…
If you examine the ever growing tree of mindfulness therapies, one of the main branches is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Here is a little map of MBCT to start you on your way.
Another key mindfulness-based approach is Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), based on MBSR (Baer & Krietemeyer, 2006). The aim of the MBCT programme is “to help individuals make a radical shift in their relationship to the thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that contribute to depressive relapse, and to do so through changes in understanding at a deep level”(Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002, p. 65). The way to do this is through mindfulness, learning “how to pay attention, on purpose, in each moment, and without judgment” (Segal et al, 2002, p. 87).
Having started off believing that cognitive therapy made improvements in a person’s depressed condition through “changes in the content of depressive thinking” (Segal et al, 2002, p. 38), new research showed that more central was a change in the relationship between the client and their thoughts (Segal et al, 2002), and specifically a decentering or distancing (Segal et al, 2002). Out of an Randomized controlled trial (RCT) carried out by Teasdale and others came an awareness of important differences between the technology of mindfulness, with its emphasis on insight meditation, and other meditative techniques which focus more on concentration which increases access to the relaxation response (Teasdale & Associates, 2000, quoted in Segal et al, 2002). In the wider awareness of insight meditation “the focus of a person’s attention is opened to admit whatever enters experience, while at the same time, a stance of kindly curiosity allows the person to investigate whatever appears, without falling prey to automatic judgments or re-activity” (Segal et al, 2002, pp. 322–323).
MBCT is scientifically and research-based. MBCT was developed for depression, and especially those clients prone to relapse (Segal et al, 2002). Segal et al developed a Randomized controlled trial (RCT) for MBCT (Teasdale & Associates, 2000, quoted in Segal et al, 2002). The question asked in their clinical trial was “Does MBCT reduce rates of relapse and recurrence in patients who have recovered from major depression?” (Segal et al, 2002, p. 315). The most important finding was that “participants with three or more previous episodes of depression (who made up more than 75% of the patients we studied), MBCT almost halved relapse/recurrence rates over the follow-up period compared to treatment as usual” (Segal et al, 2002, p. 318). Coelho, Canter, & Ernst stated that “there has been no critical systematic evaluation of the evidence” for MBCT (2007, p. 1000). MBCT research is still in its early stages and they concluded that further research is warranted (Coelho, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). Williams, Russell, & Russell, in response to the Coelho, Canter, & Ernst report, reanalysed the two main MBCT trials, and argue these analyses “reinforce the original findings” (2008, p. 524). There may well be further research now building on these foundations, do let me know if you have come across it.
If you want to read one book in order to understand MBCT then look at the very clearly written Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, published by Piatkus in 2011.
If you have come across any other good books, or research do let me know. MBCT is recommended by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Mental Health Foundation.
Baer, R. A., (2006). Mindfulness-based treatment approaches. Burlington: Academic Press.
Baer, R. A., & Krietemeyer, J. (2006). Overview of mindfulness and acceptance-based treatment approaches. In R. A. Baer (Ed.), Mindfulness-based treatment approaches (pp. 3–27). Burlington: Academic Press.
Brantley, J. (2007). Calming your anxious mind. California: Harbinger Publications Inc.
Chaskalson, (2011). The Mindful Workplace. Wiley-Blackwell.
Coelho, H. F., Canter, P. H., & Ernst, E. (2007). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Evaluating current evidence and informing future research. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(6), 1000-1005. Retrieved April 7, 2010, from PsycARTICLES database.
Dahl, J., & Lundgren, T. (2006). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in the treatment of chronic pain. In R. A. Baer (Ed.), Mindfulness-based treatment approaches (pp. 285–305). Burlington: Academic Press.
Hayes, S.C. (2005) Get out of your mind and into your life: The new acceptance and commitment therapy. Oakland: Harbinger Publications Inc.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2008). Full catastrophe living. London: Piatkus Books.
Lynch, T. R., & Bronner, L. L. (2006). Mindfulness and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): application with depressed older adults with personality disorders. In R. A. Baer (Ed.), Mindfulness-based treatment approaches (pp. 217–236). Burlington: Academic Press.
Mental Health Foundation, Mindfulness Report 2010
Roth, B.,& Calle-Messa, L. (2006). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with Spanish and English-speaking inner-city medical patients. In R. A. Baer (Ed.), Mindfulness-based treatment approaches (pp. 263–284). Burlington: Academic Press.
Segal, Z., Williams, M., & Teasdale, J., (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. London, The Guilford Press.
Semple, R. J., Lee, J., & Miller, L. F. (2006). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children. In R. A. Baer (Ed.), Mindfulness-based treatment approaches (pp. 143-166). Burlington: Academic Press.
Speca, M., Carlson, L.E., Mackenzie, M.J., & Angen, M. (2006). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) as an intervention for cancer patients. In R. A. Baer (Ed.), Mindfulness-based treatment approaches (pp. 239-261). Burlington: Academic Press.
Teasdale, J. D., Moore, R. G., Hayhurst, H., Pope, M., Williams, S., & Segal, Z. V. (2002). Metacognitive awareness and prevention of relapse in depression: Empirical evidence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(2), 275–287. Retrieved April 8, 2010, from PsycARTICLES database.
Williams, M., Russell, I., & Russell, D. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Further issues in current evidence and future research. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(3), 524–529. Retrieved April 7, 2010, from PsycARTICLES database.
Williams, M., Teasdale, J., Segal, Z., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). The mindful way through depression. London, The Guilford Press.