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201 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2002
If your interests include psychotherapy (especially cognitive therapies), or meditation (especially Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), or if you are interested in research on depression, then I suspect that you will find this book as compelling as I did.
Here is what I found profound about this book, from a cognitive therapy perspective. Cognitive therapists have long known that automatic thoughts are related to various psychopathologies, but they typically theorized that CHANGING those thoughts was the royal road to psychological health. The alternative studied and developed by the authors is that carefully ATTENDING to cognitions fully as they arise and fall is itself healing. Rather than focusing on cognitive restructuring of thoughts and thinking, this cognitive therapy postulates that observing thoughts, feelings, perceptions, bodily sensations, and world events in a compassionate, "non-attached" manner liberates one from the suffering that accompanies them. The authors have begun to collect outcome data consistent with this unusual cognitive theory.
I found the authors' review of the depression literature quite informative, and the evidence in support of MBCT is described clearly. At the same time, I couldn't help noting that the MBCT approach is specifically designed to target recovering depressives, with an eye toward preventing relapse. So although MBCT is "for depression, " it is not currently intended to treat depression per se, and it is intended as an adjunct to other treatments (e.g., medication, individual psychotherapy, etc.). So, the authors focus, at least for now, on a narrowly defined population. This is not a criticism of the book or MBCT. But for now, MBCT is quite limited in scope by its infancy. I expect that someone eventually will attempt to systematize a form of MBCT for depression in general, for individuals, or for other clinical populations.
I'm always tempted to buy another book on meditation and psychotherapy. I have to be careful here. There is a glut of excellent, relevant books (e.g., books by Mark Epstein, Daniel Goleman, Ken Wilber). Buying or reading yet another book is the easy, habitual behavior when books are your drug of choice, and your cluttered house is screaming at you with volumes of printed matter. Practicing mindfulness continuously, noticing a habitual tendency, and attending fully to the present moment, presents itself as the mindful, non-habitual alternative choice. Did I really need yet another book?
Well, I'm glad I read yet another book on this topic. This book shares many elements with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an influential meditative approach that has considerable empirical support and is finding its way into many medical and psychological settings (seeJon Kabat-Zinn's "Full Catastrophe Living"). Initially the authors attempted to bolt MBSR approaches onto previously existing variants of Cognitive Therapy. But as their methods and awareness evolved, MBCT increasingly came to resemble Kabat-Zinn's MBSR. Their current MBCT approach is an 8-week group program that strongly resembles the UMASS MBSR program, with some elements of traditional cognitive therapy added. I think that the MBCT variant of MBSR will be valuable in that it provides additional tools and strategies for running Mindfulness-based groups in a clinical setting. Additionally, I think MBCT nicely integrates empirically-validated components of CT with empirically-validated components of MBSR. It is worth noting that the MBCT approach is specifically psycho-educational, and takes place in a group setting. This could be the beginning of a beautiful psychotherapy.
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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2001
This is a fantastic book for a variety of audiences: (1) practicing psychologists and therapists who want to learn about a useful -- and empirically supported -- skill for treating depression; (2) people who think may suffer from sad moods -- even if not full-blown depression -- and who want a medicine-free and therapy-free way to feel better; (3) academic researchers who want to know more about varieties of meditation and how to adapt meditation programs to more specific goals; (4) people interested in mindfulness meditation who want to see a psychological angle on why it works so well; (5) academic researchers who want to know more about some theories about why cognitive-behavioral therapy works so well.
Whew! So many good things to say:
The book actually reads very well -- not just by the minimal standards of academic writing, but by popular standards as well. It's clear, unpretentious and has a surprising amount of drama to it.
Many people now try to adapt some kind of mindfulness a la John Kabat-Zinn to a variety of needs for people to overcome this or that disorder, pain, etc. Nearly all assume that one can just take the whole Kabat-Zinn plan and just throw anyone into it. As someone who has taken a class based on the Kabat-Zinn program, and someone who has tried to adapt it to teaching law students and others about negotiation, I can tell you this does not work too well. Among other things, few people really manage to meditate 45 minutes a day.
The book explains how the researchers tried to adapt the program to a more specific need: preventing people from getting depressed again after they've been treated. They explain how they changed their thinking about meditation and how to teach it.
One of the most beautiful parts of the book is how frankly the authors admit how their first attempts fell short. They also frankly explain how they needed to meditate themselves before they could teach it.
Highly recommended!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2002
A very well-written, comprehensive, clinician-friendly account of a treatment that appears to capture much of the essence of mindfulness and its benefits. Straight forward enough so that clinicians from all theoretical orientations should be able to appreciate the nature of the approach. It is very nice to see, in the past 15 years or so, psychologists finally trying to take a serious scientific stab at traditionally Eastern approaches like mindfulness and acceptance. The only drawback of the book, for me, was the relative lack of a serious scientific technical analysis of the approach, as the description of how the treatment theoretically works is largely discussed in metaphorical and somewhat lay-language. This may simply be because the book is aimed primarily at practicing clinicians, rather than academic psychologists and other researchers. Readers intrigued by this approach should also read Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (1999), by Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2008
Four starts for the clinician, two for the help-your-selfer. I felt that this book was well written; clinical, yet readable. This is a great book for the clinician or the clinician-in-training to give them a good overview. After reading this, the clinician would be ready to be trained in the techniques described in the book. This book does not give any practical skills, it describes the historical background for depression and MBCT and outlines the research that the authors conducted and the training they received.

Because it has no real practical skills (no how-to), it is a poor choice for anyone that wants to learn how to do this stuff on your own-DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY! Jon Kabat-zinn has a book on the same subject that IS a how-to and I would recommend that you look there, particularly since these guys received all of their training in the subject from him and his program; you might as well get it from the original source of the process (OK so Buddha was the REAL first, but JKZ has made it a simpler program and tied it to depression).
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2004
We are using this book in my dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) class and it has been extremely helpful in understanding mindfulness. I highly recommend this as an addition to DBT for consumers of borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Wonderful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2008
The authors of this book have devised one of the best strategies for countering bouts of serious depression. Indeed, mindfulness-based therapies have become a hot topic in the field of psychology, and for good reason. The evidence shows that when simple forms of meditation, relaxation, nonjudgmental observation, and acceptance are added to traditional therapies, the results are longer-lasting, and our own research at the University of Pennsylvania supports this (see Newberg and Waldman's forthcoming book, How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist. Taking up a mindfulness practice reduces a patient's need to return to therapy, and the more serious the problem, the more effective this strategy becomes. For the general reader, I recommend The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappinesswhich comes with a CD filled with relaxation and meditation exercises.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
This book is an excellent exposition of Segal, Williams, and Teasdale's therapy using a combination of Meditation, Yoga, and Cognitive Therapy.

It very generously shares their program and patient homework notes and would give any therapist the basis for development of their own program.
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on May 23, 2013
Product condition and shipping time exceeded my expectations. It was exactly what I thought I was ordering, and the price was right. Also no charge for shipping! Jean
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on February 18, 2013
Excellent beginning clinicians book for mindfulness groups. I have been using it in my groups for three years now, and it is helpful and relevant.
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on April 11, 2011
Teaches you in 8 weeks how to stop Depression from recurring by allowing yourself to let your feelings come and go and acknowledging them.
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Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Second Edition
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Second Edition by J. Mark G. Williams DPhil (Hardcover - October 23, 2012)


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