Science: Does Mindfulness Work?

I have just completed my studies at Level 3 in counselling. During the course we had to write an assignment about an area of research that interested us. I thought I would share an excerpt here.

Peggy

Explain why research findings are important in counselling work

At the moment, I am particularly interested in looking at research into the use of mindfulness in counselling. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, without judgement. During my level three counselling training we often began the day’s learning with a group mindfulness session. With my business partner, Emma, I run a community support group called Mindful Art Club, which offers a “check in”, some guided mindfulness, and mindful drawing practice. We then encourage the group to do a simple art project that requires no talent or experience. Members chat informally about their current thoughts and feelings. We then end the group with a “check out”.

When we seek charitable funding to run these groups we have offered both quantitative and qualitative research findings to the funders. We have surveyed our membership, using two client evaluation tools; the PHQ-9 Depression and GAD-7 Anxiety questionnaires. We have also done a few in-depth case studies of individuals, during which the clients described their experiences in their own written words. However, this is a very small data sample; so scientific research papers, with a large data sample size, demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness would also be helpful to us. A search on the BACP website offers over 300 articles related to mindfulness. I found an interesting article that says mindfulness can be helpful regardless of a client’s presenting problem. (Kamila Hortynska 2014). To back up her article she references 20 different sources including books, websites, professional journals, research papers and NICE guidelines.

Using this as a starting point for my investigation, I can see that there is an abundance of research available related to mindfulness in counselling. From Hortynska’s article we can learn that research has resulted in mindfulness being approved by NICE, and is now used in schools, for corporate employees, for the treatment of depression, was offered as taster sessions in parliament, and is now offered in some statutory services, thanks to a research project at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. (Bangor University 2014). Their website refers to research papers describing a randomized control trial of stress reduction in the workplace, and the initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance. Research papers like these would help us to explain to a corporation the potential value of commissioning a mindfulness course for stress reduction in their workplace.

Research findings provide useful and valuable evidence of the efficiency of various new and existing counselling theories and methods, which can benefit and inform counsellors, clients, funders, companies, agencies, charities, health services, policy makers and government organisations.

References.

  1. Hortynska, Kamila (2014) Being With What Is, Private Practice, Winter 2014, (accessed 12/06/2020.) https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/private-practice/winter-2014/being-with-what-is/
  2. Bangor University, Mindfulness in the Workplace. www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/work.php.en (accessed 12/06/2020).

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