Group Mindfulness Good As Individual CBT For Depression, Anxiety: New Study


A Swedish study found mindfulness group therapy to be effective as individual CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for people with anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders.

The findings, published in European Psychiatry, suggest group therapy with mindfulness is a viable alternative to individual psychotherapy, and can help meet a growing demand for costly and scarce mental health services.

“Our new research shows that mindfulness group therapy has the equivalent effect as individual CBT for a wide range of psychiatric symptoms that are common among this patient group,” says lead researcher Professor Jan Sundquist. “We have shown in a previous study that mindfulness group therapy is just as effective as individual CBT for the treatment of typical depression and anxiety symptoms; something we also observed in the new study.”

The eight-week study involved 215 patients from 16 healthcare centers in southern Sweden. Each patient had depression, anxiety, or a stress-related disorder, and was randomly assigned to either individual CBT, or group therapy with mindfulness. Participants were assessed for a broad range of psychiatric symptoms before and after their treatment.

Research results indicated the average symptom scores for all study participants decreased substantially, including scores for depression, anxiety, stress, interpersonal sensitivity, and phobic anxiety. There was no difference found in treatment effectiveness between the CBT patients, and those in the mindfulness therapy group.

“As mental illnesses are increasing at a very fast rate it is absolutely essential to expand the treatment alternatives for this patient group in primary healthcare,” said Sundquist. “Our view is that the scarce resources should be partly reallocated to mindfulness group therapy so that the limited availability of individual psychotherapy can be utilized in an optimal fashion.”

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Intel Free Press


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