The research problem being addressed is the changing nature of patients’ social relationships as a result of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The specific research question is “What changes in relationships occur as a result of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?” The researchers are trying to collect practical data on the positive or negative outcomes of therapy to gain a new perspective on the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
The study was precipitated by the research on the interactive cognitive subsystems (ICS). Mason and Hargreaves’s findings on which the article is based “supported the ICS model”.
Research Questions Being Investigated
The primary research questions of this study are «Which role does MBCT play as part of a lifelong process of change? » and «What are the components of complex variation in change? ». The researchers are interested in exploring the experience of patients who have undergone mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and have changed both inter and intra-personal relationships.
The participants were adults (both men and women) who had undergone mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for three years by the time of the study.
To collect the data, samples for a semi-structured interview were used. They contained the main subjects of the conversation and the logic of its conduct.
A semi-formal interview was conducted with 11 selected adults who therapy, during which they were asked about changes in relationships as a result of treatment.
All 11 study participants had a long-term positive effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
The main findings showed that after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, all patients developed natural changes affecting all spheres of life. The patients have improved relations with their families: “My wife and children want to come home now,” says Dennis. The clinical relevance of the findings is that they demonstrate the most important advantage of the use of therapy which is a stable long-term result. After undergoing mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, the patient can control, diagnose and treat complex conditions themselves, so relapse is practically excluded. For example, Stefan claims that he has “this calmness that sees through…where I used to get into trouble before”.
Implications for Counselors, Clients, and Counselling
The implications of the findings for counselors, clients, and counseling are «preventing depressive relapse» and «increasing understanding of self and others».
The main results showed that MBCT plays a critical role as part of a lifelong process of change. Inert- and intra- variation in change was also identified. Thus, the findings fully support the research question.
The conclusions made by the authors can be considered warranted since the interview with each participant was very detailed. The possible alternative explanations of the results are the small number of study participants and the lack of comparison with patients undergoing other types of therapy. As the strength of the study, the form of data acquisition can be noted. It allowed the interviewer to pay attention to non-verbal signals as well and ask questions to obtain more accurate information (Richards & Morse, 2013). The weaknesses and limitations of the study are related to ethical considerations. Since the interview was not anonymous and the participants “described” relating mindfully “to their own experiences”, they could answer the questions not quite honestly.
For Further Study
The next direction for research in this area may be to conduct anonymous interviews with a wider group of participants. This work can also be extended by conducting interviews with patients who have undergone other types of therapy and a comparative analysis of the results obtained.
Bihari, J. L., & Mullan, E. G. (2014). Relating mindfully: A qualitative exploration of changes in relationships through mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Mindfulness, 2(5), 46-59.
Richards, L., & Morse, J. M. (2013). Readme first for a user’s guide to qualitative methods. NY, New York: Sage Publications.