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Self Help with Mindfulness, Relaxation Reduces Depression in Patients with Psychoses

05 Jan

German researchers from University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and University Hospital Freiburg examined the feasibility of patients with psychosis benefiting from a self-help program of mindfulness therapy.

Ninety patients with psychosis were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness group or a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) control group. They received their respective self-help manuals, including accompanying audio files.

Changes in symptoms were measured at baseline and six weeks later, with self-rating scales, including the Paranoia Checklist.

The retention rate was 71%.

The results from the Paranoia Checklist showed no changes across time nor between the two groups. However, both conditions showed a decline in depressive and obsessive-compulsive symptoms at a medium effect size.

The investigators conclude that the results provide partial support for the effectiveness of self-help mindfulness and PMR for depression in psychosis. Whether mindfulness delivered by a licensed therapist might lead to better treatment adherence and a superior outcome relative to PMR remains to be seen. But these results underscore that this form of self-help is a worthwhile approach to narrow the large treatment gap seen in psychosis.

Citation: Moritz S, Cludius B, et al. Mindfulness and relaxation treatment reduce depressive symptoms in individuals with psychosis. European Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;30 (6):pp. 709-14. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2015.05.002. Epub 2015 Jul 7

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award