Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditiation is increasingly being considered and used in therapy. Meditation has been practiced in Asia, including India and China, for thousands of years, and gained recognition and popularity in the West in the past several decades. Recent scientific research through brain wave studies and clinical research, has verified that meditation can have profound effects on the brain and can impact cognition, emotion and behavior.
Meditation can lower stress and anxiety, an acknowledged factor in many emotional and physical ailments, and there is a “consensus that self-regulation techniques such as meditation are of proven value for many conditions and are vital to the future of medicine.” Loizzo, J. 2000. Meditation and various types of Western psychotherapies have important common understandings: people’s behavior is habitual action reinforced by conditioning and modifiable by learning; tendencies to self-deception are shaped by egocentric instincts; human nature and development are fundamentally social; refocusing of a person’s attention is used to enhance problem solving and emotional self-regulation.
Two types of meditation used in psychotherapy are Kundalini and mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation involves trying to sustain attention from moment to moment on a chosen focus, initially in the body or mind, without judgment. Typically, the first focus is the breath.” (Loizzo, J. 2000; Monti & Beitman, 2009; McCown & Reibel, 2009). While mindfulness meditation has been found to be helpful to reduce stress, there has been little effort to use mindfulness meditation in treating schizophrenia. Some initial studies suggest that mindfulness meditation may be effective with schizophrenia patients (Chien & Lee, 2013; Davis, Strasburger & Brown, 2007).
One study examined loving-kindness meditation with 18 participants with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and significant negative symptoms. Findings indicate that the intervention was feasible and associated with decreased negative symptoms and increased positive emotions and psychological recovery. (Johnson et al,. 2011)