Shenpa and Compassionate Abiding: Mindfulness-Based Practices for Anger and Aggression by Individuals with Schizophrenia

  • Nirbhay N. Singh
  • Giulio E. Lancioni
  • Bryan T. Karazsia
  • Alan S. W. Winton
  • Judy Singh
  • Robert G. Wahler


Uncontrolled anger is often expressed as verbal and physical aggression. Some people with schizophrenia engage in verbal and physical aggression when they cannot control their anger either through the use of psychotropic medication or psychosocial interventions. In this study, we taught three individuals with long-standing anger management problems the concept of shenpa—the almost instantaneous reaction of the mind to some internal or external stimulus that hooks them to a negative emotion—and a mindfulness-based practice that helped them to intuit this without attachment or anger. In addition, we taught them the mindfulness-based practice of compassionate abiding for dealing with emotionally arousing feelings that follow shenpa. Using a multiple baseline design, we assessed the effects of the two mindfulness-based practices on anger, verbal aggression and physical aggression. The three individuals were able to decrease their anger, greatly reduce verbal aggression, and virtually eliminate physical aggression.


Shenpa Anger Verbal aggression Physical aggression Mindfulness-based intervention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nirbhay N. Singh
    • 1
  • Giulio E. Lancioni
    • 2
  • Bryan T. Karazsia
    • 3
  • Alan S. W. Winton
    • 4
  • Judy Singh
    • 5
  • Robert G. Wahler
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Medical College of GeorgiaGeorgia Regents UniversityAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience and Sense OrgansUniversity of BariBariItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe College of WoosterWoosterUSA
  4. 4.School of PsychologyMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  5. 5.MacTavish Behavioral HealthRaleighUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Tennessee at KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

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