Skip to main content Accessibility help

Mindfulness in psychiatry – where are we now?

  • Paramabandhu Groves (a1)


Mindfulness is an increasingly popular therapeutic approach. Mindfulness-based interventions have been tried out in a wide range of mental disorders, with the strongest evidence for use in depression and anxiety. Mindfulness operates by changing the person's relationship with unhelpful thoughts and emotions. The need for home practice is both a strength and a weakness. Some find home practice too demanding and a barrier to effective utilisation of mindfulness. Others discover a set of practical tools that, once learnt, can be applied to ongoing life difficulties; in this way mindfulness may have a place in promoting recovery beyond the acute treatment of a disorder. Additionally, mindfulness may be beneficial for clinicians to promote well-being and enhance the therapeutic relationship.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Mindfulness in psychiatry – where are we now?
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Mindfulness in psychiatry – where are we now?
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Mindfulness in psychiatry – where are we now?
      Available formats


This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paramabandhu Groves (


Hide All

Declaration of interest




Hide All
1 Mindfulness Initiative. Mindful Nation UK: Report by the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG). The Mindfulness Initiative, 2015 (
2 Kabat-Zinn, J. Wherever You Go, There You are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life. Piatkus Books, 1994.
3 Kabat-Zinn, J, Lipworth, L, Burney, R. The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain. J Behav Med 1985; 8: 163–90.
4 Kabat-Zinn, J, Lipworth, L, Burney, R, Sellers, W. Four-year follow-up of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain: treatment outcomes and compliance. Clin J Pain 1986; 2: 159–73.
5 Miller, J, Fletcher, K, Kabat-Zinn, J. Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 1995; 17: 192200.
6 Kabat-Zinn, J, Wheeler, E, Light, T, Skillings, A, Scharf, MJ, Cropley, TG, et al. Influence of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photo-chemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosom Med 1998; 60: 625–32.
7 Asta, JA, Berman, BM, Bausell, B, Lee, W-L, Hochberg, M, Forys, KL. The efficacy of mindfulness meditation plus qigong movement therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Rheumatology 2003; 30: 2257–62.
8 Davidson, RJ, Kabat-Zinn, J, Schumacher, J, Rosenkranz, M, Muller, D, Santorelli, SF, et al. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosom Med 2003; 65: 564–70.
9 Segal, Z, Teasdale, J, Williams, M. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse. Guilford, 2002.
10 Farb, ASN, Segal, ZV, Mayberg, H, Bean, J, McKeon, D, Fatima, Z, et al. Attending to the present: mindfulness meditation reveals distinct neural modes of self-reference. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2007; 2: 313–22.
11 Kenny, MA, Williams, JMG. Treatment-resistant depressed patients show a good response to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Behav Res Ther 2007; 45: 617–25.
12 Eisendrath, SJ, Delucchi, K, Bitner, R, Fenimore, P, Smit, M, McLane, M. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for treatment-resistant depression: a pilot study. Psychother Psychosom 2008; 77: 319–20.
13 Strauss, C, Cavanagh, K, Oliver, A, Pettman, D. Mindfulness-based interventions for people diagnosed with a current episode of an anxiety or depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. PLoS ONE 2014; 9: e96110.
14 Barnhofer, T, Crane, C, Hargus, E, Amarasinghe, M, Winder, R, Williams, JMG. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a treatment for chronic depression: a preliminary study. Behav Res Ther 2009; 47: 366–73.
15 Geschwind, N, Peeters, F, Huibers, M, van Os, J, Wichers, M. Efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in relation to prior history of depression: randomised controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 2012; 201: 320–5.
16 Kuyken, W, Hayes, R, Barrett, B, Byng, R, Dalgleish, T, Kessler, D, et al. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2015; 386: 6373.
17 Williams, JMG, Alatiq, Y, Crane, C, Barnhofer, T, Fennell, MJV, Duggan, DS, et al. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in bipolar disorder: preliminary evaluation of immediate effects on between-episode functioning. J Affect Disord 2008; 107: 275–9.
18 Perich, T, Manicavasagar, V, Mitchell, PB, Ball, JR, Hadzi-Pavlovic, D. A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for bipolar disorder. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2013; 127: 333–43.
19 Breslin, FC, Zack, M, McMain, S. An information-processing analysis of mindfulness: implications for relapse prevention in the treatment of substance abuse. Clin Psychol Sci Pract 2002; 9: 275–99.
20 Zgierska, A, Rabago, D, Chawla, N, Kushner, K, Koehler, R, Marlatt, A. Mindfulness meditation for substance-use disorders: a systematic review. Subst Abus 2009; 30: 295305.
21 Witkiewitz, K, Bowen, S. Depression, craving and substance use following a randomized trial of mindfulness-based relapse prevention. J Consult Clin Psychol 2010; 78: 362–74.
22 Witkiewitz, K, Warner, K, Sully, B, Barricks, A, Stauffer, C, Thompson, BL, et al. Randomized trial comparing mindfulness-based relapse prevention with relapse prevention for women offenders at a residential addiction treatment center. Subst Use Misuse 2014; 49: 536–46.
23 Chadwick, P. Mindfulness for psychosis. Br J Psychiatry 2014; 204: 333–4.
24 Wanden-Berghe, RG, Sanz-Valero, J, Wanden-Berghe, C. The application of mindfulness to eating disorders treatment: a systematic review. Eat Disord 2011; 19: 3448.
25 Madani, NAM, Kananifar, N, Atashpour, SH, Bin Habil, MH. The effects of mindfulness group training on the rate of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms on the women in Isfahan City (Iran). Int Med J 2013; 20: 13–7.
26 McManus, F, Surawy, C, Muse, K, Vazquez-Montes, M, Mark Williams, JG. A randomized clinical trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy versus unrestricted services for health anxiety (hypochondriasis). J Consult Clin Psychol 2012; 80: 817–28.
27 Lakhan, SE, Schofield, KL. Mindfulness-based therapies in the treatment of somatization disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 2013; 8: e71834.
28 Spek, AA, van Ham, NC, Nyklièek, I. Mindfulness-based therapy in adults with an autism spectrum disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Res Dev Disabil 2013; 34: 246–53.
29 Zylowska, L, Ackerman, DL, Yang, MH, Futrell, JL, Horton, NL, Hale, TS, et al. Mindfulness meditation training in adults and adolescents with ADHD: a feasibility study. J Atten Disord 2008; 11: 737–46.
30 Khoury, B, Lecomte, T, Fortin, G, Masse, M, Therien, P, Bouchard, V, et al. Mindfulness-based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev 2013; 33: 763–71.
31 Gotink, RA, Chu, P, Busschbach, JJV, Benson, H, Fricchione, GL, Hunink, MGM. Standardised mindfulness-based interventions in healthcare: an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PLoS ONE 2015; 10: e0124344.
32 Brewer, JA, Bowen, S, Smith, JT, Marlatt, GA, Potenza, MN. Mindfulness-based treatments for co-occurring depression and substance use disorders: what can we learn from the brain? Addiction 2010; 105: 1698–706.
33 Hassed, C, de Lisle, S, Sullivan, G, Pier, C. Enhancing the health of medical students: outcomes of an integrated mindfulness and lifestyle program. Adv Health Sci Ed 2009; 14: 387–98.
34 Rosenzweig, S, Reibel, DK, Greeson, JM, Brainard, GC, Hojat, M. Mindfulness-based stress reduction lowers psychological distress in medical students. Teach Learn Med 2003; 15: 8892.
35 Shapiro, SL, Schwartz, GE, Bonner, G. Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. J Behav Med 1998; 21: 581–99.

Mindfulness in psychiatry – where are we now?

  • Paramabandhu Groves (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

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

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

Mindfulness in psychiatry – where are we now?

  • Paramabandhu Groves (a1)
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? *