Skip to main content

Mindfulness in psychotherapy: an introduction

  • Chris Mace

‘Mindfulness’ has become a popular topic among psychological therapists. This introductory article explains what mindfulness is and how it can be developed, before exploring how it has been incorporated within psychoanalytic and cognitive–behavioural psychotherapies. These reflect general as well as specific presumed therapeutic actions. At present, variations in the way mindfulness is understood, taught and applied mean that it is too early to fully assess its potential. They demonstrate how the use of attention and awareness in therapy cuts across traditional divisions and where mindfulness in therapy is most in need of further investigation.

Hide All
Albeniz, A. & Holmes, J. (2000) Meditation: concepts, effects and uses in therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 5, 4958.
Austin, J. (2006) Zen–Brain Reflections. MIT Press.
Bion, W. (1970) Attention and Interpretation. Karnac.
Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S. et al (2004) Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 230241.
Brown, D. P. & Engler, J. (1986) The stages of mindfulness meditation: a validation study. In Transformations of Consciousness (eds Wilber, K., Engler, J. & Brown, D. P.) pp. 161191. Shambala Press.
Brown, K. & Ryan, R. (2003) The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822848.
Brown, K. W. & Ryan, R. M. (2004) Perils and promise in defining and measuring mindfulness. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11, 242248.
Coltart, N. (1993) Slouching towards Bethlehem: And Further Psychoanalytic Explorations. Free Association Books.
Coltart, N. (1998) Slouching towards Buddhism: a conversation with Nina Coltart. In The Couch and the Tree: Dialogues Between Psychoanalysis and Buddhism (ed. Molino, A.) pp. 170182. North Point Press.
Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J. et al (2003) Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564570.
Epstein, M. (1996) Thoughts without a Thinker. Duckworth.
Epstein, M. (1998) Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. Thorsons.
Fonagy, P., Gergely, G., Jurist, E. et al (2002) Affect Regulation, Mentalization and the Development of the Self. Other Press.
Freud, S. (1912) Recommendations for physicians on the psychoanalytic method of treatment. Reprinted (1953–1974) in the Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (trans. and ed. Strachey, J.) vol. 12. Hogarth Press.
Germer, C. K. (2005) What is mindfulness? In Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (eds Germer, C. K., Siegel, R. D. & Fulton, P. R.) pp. 127. Guilford Press.
Goleman, D. (1988) The Meditative Mind. Putnam.
Hanh, T. N. (1991) The Miracle of Mindfulness. Rider.
Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D. & Wilson, K. D. (1999) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change. Guilford Press.
Horney, K. (1951) The quality of the analyst's attention. Reprinted (1999) in Karen Horney: The Therapeutic Process (ed. Paris, B. J.) pp. 186190. Yale University Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990) Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Delacorte Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life. Piatkus Books.
Kristeller, J. L. & Hallett, C. B. (1999) An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 357363.
Linehan, M. (1993) Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Guilford Press.
Mace, C. (2006a) Long-term impacts of mindfulness practice on wellbeing: new findings from qualitative research. In Dimensions of Well-being. Research and Intervention (ed. Delle Fave, A.) pp. 455469. Franco Angeli.
Mace, C. (2006b) Mindfulness and technologies of healing: lessons from Western practice. Proceedings of Second Kyoto Conference on Buddhism and Psychotherapy (eds Ancho, O., Miller, M. & Mathers, D.) pp. 151161. Hanazono University.
Mace, C. (2007) Mindfulness and Mental Health. Brunner-Routledge.
Reibel, D. K., Greeson, J. M., Brainard, G. C. et al (2001) Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health-related quality of life in a heterogeneous patient population. General Hospital Psychiatry, 23, 183192.
Roemer, L. & Orsillo, S. M. (2002) Expanding our conceptualisation of and treatment for generalised anxiety disorder. Integrating mindfulness/acceptance-based approaches with existing cognitive–behavioural models. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 5468.
Segal, Z., Williams, J. M. G. & Teasdale, J. (2002) Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. John Wiley & Sons.
Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G. et al (2000) Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 128, 615623.
Welch, S. S., Rizvi, S. & Dimidjian, S. (2006) Mindfulness in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for borderline personality disorder. In Mindfulness-based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and Applications (ed. Baer, R. A.) pp. 117139. Academic Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 21 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 55 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 21st March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Mindfulness in psychotherapy: an introduction

  • Chris Mace
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *