Did you catch the article in HuffPost Health News about a large-scale comparison between the efficacy of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and anti-depressants?
This area, MBCT, is a growing interest of mine and I’m hoping to attend some trainings on it. I have informal training on mindfulness and use it myself, to great benefit! Here’s what I would say to someone else…
Mindfulness techniques, as part of research-informed cognitive behavioral therapy, has already demonstrated benefit in use with patients with chronic illness. Although the body of literature supporting this practice with children is not as established as it is with adults, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy shows much promise in helping pediatric patients (ages 8 and older) with IBD!
The general purpose of MBCT is to help the patient be fully aware and in the present moment, and then begin the change process within that present focus. That includes awareness of how they are feeling and what they are thinking, including whether their thoughts and feelings are really focused on the past or future. Mindfulness is itself a positive change for most people. Depression often comes from a focus on painful thoughts and memories from the past, or on worry and sadness about the potential future. Because of this, the thoughts and feelings typical of depression can actually prevent the person from being able to enjoy the current moment, cope well with stressors in the current moment, or see the positive good in his or her future. Mindfulness techniques help give patients that present focus back, which allows them to challenge negative thoughts about the future or past better, and helps them create room for change.
Although more research is needed, MBCT shows much promise for our pediatric IBD community. First, we would all agree children should be able to enjoy something each day! When they are worried about the future or sad about the past, they aren’t able to get the most of out of their life. MBCT can give children opportunity to bring their attention back to what is going right, and give them positive space to learn how to get the most out of each day. That puts them on a path for future success both in their physical lives and in their emotional lives.