The Effectiveness and Acceptability of Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Review of the Literature
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- Hale, L., Strauss, C. & Taylor, B.L. Mindfulness (2013) 4: 375. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0137-y
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Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is the recommended psychological therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). However, CBT is not a panacea with only moderate response rates and relatively high drop-out rates. A mindfulness-based approach could enable people to notice intrusive thoughts without attaching significance and meaning to them. The purpose of this paper is to establish a rationale for using mindfulness for OCD and then to review the evidence for mindfulness-based approaches for OCD and to address three questions: (1) is mindfulness-based therapy effective in reducing symptoms of OCD? (2) is mindfulness-based therapy acceptable to people diagnosed with OCD, and (3) if effective, what are the mechanisms of change following mindfulness-based therapy for OCD? An electronic literature search was conducted using six databases. The final papers selected for review consisted of four empirical studies investigating mindfulness techniques in the treatment of OCD. The four empirical research papers retrieved included two single case studies, one A-B-C replication case series and one quasi-randomised controlled trial of a mindfulness group. All of the studies reviewed found positive effects of mindfulness on symptoms of OCD. This literature review provides an early indication that mindfulness-based therapy has promise as an intervention for the treatment of OCD. However, the conclusions drawn are limited by the designs used in the studies. The largest, arguably most rigorous study to date was conducted among a non-clinical sample.