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Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBecoming MyselfBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the NetChild and Adolescent Treatment for Social Work PracticeChoosing an Online TherapistChronic DepressionClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCompassionConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCoping with BPDCouch FictionCounseling in GenderlandCounseling with Choice TheoryCouple SkillsCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating HysteriaCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDeafness In MindDecoding the Ethics CodeDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeep Brain StimulationDemystifying TherapyDepression 101Depression in ContextDialogues on DifferenceDissociative ChildrenDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoing CBTE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessExistential PsychotherapyExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow and Why Are Some Therapists Better Than Others?How Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning ACTLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMaybe You Should Talk to SomeoneMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeNietzsche and PsychotherapyOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOutsider Art and Art TherapyOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and 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LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Incurable RomanticThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy of HopeThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe Trouble with IllnessThe UnsayableThe Way of the JournalTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapy with ChildrenTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThinking for CliniciansThinking for CliniciansThoughts Without a ThinkerThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreating Attachment DisordersTreatment for Chronic DepressionTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersUnderstanding Child MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy
This is an easy to read book written in ordinary English. While
it contains references to research in clinical psychology and
several graphs, the authors have been careful to speak in a conversational
tone which prevents the book from becoming just another dry academic
The book is meant to be used as a guide by psychotherapists and
counselors in learning how to carry out a new sort of practice.
The first five chapters explain what the authors mean by "mindfulness-based
cognitive therapy," the next eight chapters are step-by-step
instructions for a series of eight group counseling sessions,
and the final two chapters and the epilogue summarize what the
authors have tried to accomplish with this volume. It also contains
work sheets for "patients," information hand-outs, homework
assignment summary pages, and carefully detailed instructions
to counselors and therapists in how to use each of these in their
Unfortunately, this book is what I would consider a "light"
book. By this I mean that the theoretical foundation on which
this new method is based is very insubstantial, there are more
pages than is necessary to say what was said, there are many repetitive
passages, and there is nothing new in the material to stimulate
the reader's thinking or imagination. The so-called new method
the authors are promoting is simply a reworking of what some might
call a New Age type of awareness, very similar to practices within
Taoism, Buddhism, and yoga. The practice of "mindfulness"
seems to be a combination of group meditation, phenomenology,
breathing exercises, and an intentional focus on awareness. The
authors explain that their approach involves a type of meditation
which helps the patient be able to "recognize difficult situations
early and deal with them skillfully" by "replacing the
old mode of fixing and repairing problems with a new mode of allowing
things to just be as they are" (95). The patient learns how
to achieve an "acceptance of what is" (93) and how to
"simply be with difficult and uncomfortable emotions"
(italics in the original) (78). The book is filled with various
attempts to explain the vague "accepting," "allowing"
and "being with," but, of course, the authors never
quite succeed in defining these terms adequately. They ultimately
resort to telling their readers "you've got to try it to
understand what we mean," which puts them in the paradoxical
position of having tried to explain in this book that which they
themselves admit can't be explained.
The authors cite some "scientific" research they have
conducted to substantiate their claim that their method is effective
in helping previously depressed individuals avoid relapsing into
depression, but they leave me unconvinced that this is indeed
something new or more effective than other methods. In fact, the
authors are very careful not to claim too much for their method,
stating that it is not meant to help people overcome severe depression,
that it is not helpful in preventing depression in those who have
only had one or two experiences of depression in the past, and
that it will only help a portion of those individuals who have
experienced multiple depressive episodes in the past to avoid
future recurrences. This leaves them with a very soft claim regarding
the efficacy of their method.
Not only is this a "light weight" book, it also contains
a number of technical problems as well. For example, the authors
show a lack of understanding of the neurological function of anti-depressant
drugs, and they seem to be unaware of the many serious problems
inherent in clinical drug trials involving placebos. They also
reveal an ambiguity in their reasoning concerning what they believe
to be the reasons for, or the causes of, depression, recovery,
and relapse in that they accept environmental influences as the
initial cause of depression, but then ignore this same cause in
their discussion of later relapse into depression. Instead they
claim that relapse depression results from the brain simply getting
stuck in some sort of "downward spiral" of thinking.
These are very surprising weaknesses in a book written by professionals
whose long list of impressive academic and research positions
are cited on the back flap for all to see.
There is no doubt that this so-called mindfulness-based cognitive
group therapy will help some individuals. But the description
of the method devised by these authors will seem very familiar
to anyone with even the slightest interest in group meditational
practices, and hardly warrants heralding the arrival of a "new"
therapy (the sub title of this book is "A New Approach to
Preventing Relapse"). Despite the book's weaknesses, I congratulate
the authors on their honesty in offering their readers an interesting
insight into their own trials and errors in the research they
conducted in the development of their method. If nothing else,
the authors offer their readers a fascinating insight into the
failure of their initial research hypothesis and how they then
reoriented their project so that there would be no interruption
in their research funding.
© 2002 Peter B. Raabe
Peter B. Raabe teaches philosophy and has a private practice in philosophical counseling in North Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of the book Philosophical Counseling: Theory and Practice (Praeger, 2001).