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05 Dec

Researchers from King's College and the Institute of Psychiatry performed a qualitative study to explore how practicing mindfulness related to living with and managing bipolar illness.

Qualitative methodology was used to explore the experiences of 12 people with bipolar illness who had been practicing mindfulness for at least 18 weeks. Semi-structured interviews exploring how the practice of mindfulness meditation affected their living with their condition were recorded verbatim, transcribed, and then analyzed using thematic analysis.
Seven themes emerged: (1) Focusing on what is present; (2) clearer awareness of mood state and changes therein; (3) acceptance; (4) mindfulness practice in different mood states; (5) reducing/stabilizing negative affect; (6) relating differently to negative thoughts; and (7) reducing the impact of the mood state.

14 Nov

In a randomized, controlled trial, investigators from a Eugene, Oregon company called mPower evaluated the efficacy of an interactive, computer-assisted cognitive-behavioral program called The Wellness Workshop for alleviating depression.
A total of 191 individuals referred by primary-care physicians were randomly assigned either to a treatment group, where treatment as usual was supplemented by the Wellness Workshop CD-ROM, delivered by mail (WW+TAU), or to a control group, where treatment as usual was provided (TAU).

Measures included symptom ratings obtained via structured clinical diagnostic interviews, as well as a battery of self-report questionnaires on symptoms specifically targeted by the intervention. Data were collected at baseline, at 6 weeks' post-intervention, and at a 6-month follow-up assessment. Participants were given a reimbursement of $75 for completion of each assessment.

21 Aug

Dear Health Journeys and BR,

I am 64 years old. I was married for nearly 4 decades. Two years ago I lost my husband to a long, debilitating illness. Even though his death was expected, I was devastated. I became distraught, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Every day was a burden. I became deeply depressed. I just wanted to sleep so I wouldn’t feel the pain of the loss of my dear husband and best friend. My daughter made me see a counselor.

I feel that this wonderful, gentle, wise counselor and the guided imagery for grief that she gave me to listen to each day saved my life. I am not exaggerating. The imagery was a great comfort to me. I actually looked forward to it each evening. It became an oasis of peace, a time I could touch my husband again, through the love I still felt for him and always will feel for him. It was a time when the hurting and loneliness stopped. At first this was only while I was listening, but later on it spread into other parts of the day. It was a blessing and I wanted to say thank you.

Emma P, Henry’s Wife

19 Jun

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of Bologna in Italy performed a meta-analysis to see if Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy or MBCT – a meditation program based on integrating cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness-based stress reduction - had a positive impact on psychiatric conditions.

A literature search was undertaken using five electronic databases and references of retrieved articles. Main findings included the following:

01 May


Over the past several years I have had more friends and relatives die than I can count.  One of these more recent losses was someone I had been taking care of for four years. There were a lot of issues between us, including anger about having to care for her before I even started high school. I wanted a "normal" teenage life, and couldn't have it because of my responsibilities to her.

After she died I could not forgive myself or her for the death. Since then I have not been able to get much sleep (it's been almost 3 years).

Now I'm dealing with a close relative battling cancer, stage 3. I don't live close to this particular relative, and that's made dealing with the strong possibility of losing them that much harder.

I was always the main caretaker in the family when there was a problem. I find myself restless, angry, resentful, and depressed. A psychologist familiar with my situation suggested BR's recordings. I would like some suggestions about which CDs to start off with.


24 Apr

Researchers from the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL mounted a single arm feasibility trial to examine whether an internet-based, 7-week intervention for depression (including phone support) could increase adherence rates and improvement in depression outcomes.
The intervention required frequent brief log-ins for self-monitoring and feedback as well as email and brief telephone support, guided by a theory-driven manualized protocol.

17 Apr

In this population-based, cross-sectional study, researcher-epidemiologists from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research examined the prevalence of depression and PTSD in over 18,000 U.S. Army soldiers (4 Active Component and 2 National Guard infantry brigade combat teams), using several definitions, including functional impairment, as well as the comorbidity of alcohol misuse and aggressive behaviors. Additionally, they compared rates between Active Component and National Guard soldiers at the 3- and 12-month time points following deployment.

06 Feb

Researchers from the Pain Division of the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University in New York, concerned about the connection between depression/anxiety and the postoperative risk of a patient having a cardiac event after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), explored whether guided imagery might reduce postoperative distress in these patients.

Fifty-six patients scheduled to undergo coronary artery bypass grafting at Columbia University Medical Center were randomized into 3 groups: guided imagery, music therapy, and standard care control.  Patients in the imagery and music groups listened to audiotapes preoperatively and intraoperatively. All patients completed psychological assessments, disclosure of their use of CAM therapies, and other assessments before surgery and after one week and 6 months postoperatively.

30 Jan

Dear Belleruth/Health Journeys,

Do you have affirmations for elderly people?  My mother has lived through several traumas, and is over 90, so coming to terms with arthritic pain and the fact that her body will not do what she wants it to do is very hard for her.

Thanks for your attention.


09 Jan


Hi Bellaruth,
I was married to the military for over 20 yrs and have some first hand knowledge of the severe trauma suffered by so many (too many) of our brave and dedicated service people. I also know what their families go thru. I have deep gratitude for all our military and their families. I am also very grateful to you for doing so much for the military and for continuing to push the govt toward better healing methods.

Are there guided imagery programs for spouses, children & other family members of active duty &/or retired who suffer the affects of war, like PTSD?  Kids get scared & spouses expend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to help & deal with the affected service member, so that it can and does create, among other things, high anxiety and even PTSD in the non-military family member(s).

It can also inhibit the spouse from taking care of themselves. I know, because I'm one. I never got to experience my own reactions to 9/11 because it affected my spouse so severely (PTSD & survivors' guilt). I didn't have time because I was so busy dealing w/his reactions.

One of my children grew up always fearing for her father's safety and unfortunately, there was nothing like your guided imagery to help her. I suspect this happens more than anyone realizes. I'm currently using your PTSD guided imagery & just downloaded your new Heartbreak meditation.

Besides those two, what would you recommend for spouses and the children?

Again, thank you for ALL you do.