Saturday, June 02, 2012

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath - Applying Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Treatment

There has been a trend over the past decade or two to add mindfulness to nearly every form of psychotherapy one can think of - but especially cognitive models, as in the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy discussed in this video. This trend probably began in part as a result of the apparent clinical success of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) in treating borderline personality disorder (more accurately known as complex PTSD), which was created by Marsha Linehan (her model is essentially cognitive behavioral therapy with an added mindfulness component).

From Wikipedia, a little bit on DBT (this entry is a good introduction for those interested in the model):
DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice. DBT may be the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be generally effective in treating BPD.

DBT strives to have the patient view the therapist as an ally rather than an adversary in the treatment of psychological issues. Accordingly, the therapist aims to accept and validate the client’s feelings at any given time, while, nonetheless, informing the client that some feelings and behaviors are maladaptive, and showing them better alternatives.[2]

Linehan and others combined a commitment to the core conditions of acceptance and change through the Hegelian principle of dialectical progress (in which thesis + antithesis → synthesis) and assembled an array of skills for emotional self-regulation drawn from Western psychological traditions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and an interpersonal variant, "assertiveness training", and Eastern meditative traditions, such as Buddhist mindfulness meditation. Arguably her most significant contribution was to alter the adversarial nature of the therapist-client relationship in favor of an alliance based on intersubjective tough love.
Since this model appeared to be useful in other populations as well, other therapists began introducing mindfulness-based approaches with cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) foundations, including the following:

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath - Applying Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Treatment

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of the UCSF Depression Center, explores alternatives to treating depression that include cognitive therapy and cognitive mindfulness-based therapy, a new technique that blends mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy techniques to lessen depression, particularly in individuals with recurrent episodes. Series: "UCSF Osher Mini Medical School for the Public" (Visit:

Dr. Eisendrath began his career as a consultation-liaison psychiatrist developing extensive experience at the mind-body interface areas of chronic pain, somatoform disorders, and factitious disorders. In more recent years, as director of The UCSF Depression Center, he has shifted his attention to investigating depression treatment and relapse prevention. He has been studying mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a new technique for treatment and prevention of major depression.
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