Thursday, December 4, 2014


Listen. I know the reality of depression and anxiety. I no longer suffer from those conditions but I did for a considerable period of time---especially depression. I didn't use mindfulness to manage and eventually overcome those conditions, for I didn't know about it at the time. I used traditional psychotherapy combined with antidepressant drug treatment. I do not condemn those modalities, in fact I endorse them. I am, however, always interested in other forms of treatment, especially mindfulness. Hence this blog.

Now, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden and Region Skåne, group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in patients suffering from depression and anxiety. As an aside, we all know that group therapy can often be more effective than individual treatment. There is an energy, and a synergy, that arises from the group. Mindfulness involves seeing things-as-they-really-are, non-judgmentally, and that can at times be quite a confronting experience for persons with mental health issues. However, a group setting can assist greatly in that regard.

The researchers, led by Professor Jan Sundquist [pictured left], ran the study at 16 primary health care centres in Skåne, a county in southern Sweden. In spring 2012 some 215 patients with depression, anxiety or reactions to severe stress were randomised to either structured group mindfulness treatment with approximately 10 patients per group, or regular treatment (mainly individual CBT). Patients also received a private training programme and were asked to record their exercises in a diary. The treatment lasted 8 weeks.

Before and after treatment, the patients in the mindfulness and regular treatment groups answered questionnaires that estimated the severity of their depression and anxiety. Self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety decreased in both groups during the 8-week treatment period. There was no statistical difference between the two treatments.

‘The study’s results indicate that group mindfulness treatment, conducted by certified instructors in primary health care, is as effective a treatment method as individual CBT for treating depression and anxiety’, says Jan Sundquist. ‘This means that group mindfulness treatment should be considered as an alternative to individual psychotherapy, especially at primary health care centres that can’t offer everyone individual therapy’.

Resource: Sundquist J, Lilja A, Palmer K, Memon A, Wang X, and Johansson L. ‘Mindfulness group therapy in primary care patients with depression, anxiety and stress and adjustment disorders: randomized controlled trial.’ British Journal of Psychiatry, 2014. Published online ahead of print Nov 27, 2014, doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.150243.



IMPORTANT NOTICE: See the Terms of Use and Disclaimer. The information provided on this blogspot is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your medical practitioner or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on this blogspot. For immediate advice or support call Lifeline on 13 1 1 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. For information, advice and referral on mental illness contact the SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) go online via

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