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05-08-2017 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 2/2018 Open Access

Mindfulness 2/2018

The Co-creation and Feasibility of a Compassion Training as a Follow-up to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Patients with Recurrent Depression

Mindfulness > Uitgave 2/2018
Rhoda Schuling, Marloes Huijbers, Hetty Jansen, Renée Metzemaekers, Erik Van Den Brink, Frits Koster, Hiske Van Ravesteijn, Anne Speckens
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s12671-017-0783-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) as a follow-up intervention to Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy in adults with recurrent depression. We conducted an uncontrolled study in 17 patients with recurrent depression, in two successive groups. The first group contained novices to compassion training (N = 14); in the second group, ten of these participated again, in addition to three new participants (N = 13). The overall group contained 15 females and 2 males, aged between 37 and 71. The MBCL program was qualitatively evaluated using post-intervention focus group interviews in both groups. In addition, self-report questionnaires assessing depressive symptoms, worry and both self-compassion and mindfulness skills were administered before and after MBCL. No patients dropped out of the intervention. Average attendance was 7.52 (SD 0.73) out of eight sessions. Helpful elements were theory on the emotion regulation systems, practicing self-compassion explicitly and embodiment of a compassionate attitude by the teachers. Unhelpful elements were the lack of a clear structure, lack of time to practice compassion for self and the occurrence of the so-called back draft effect. We adapted the program in accordance with the feedback of the participants. Preliminary results showed a reduction in depressive symptoms in the second group, but not in the first group, and an increase in self-compassion in both groups. Worry and overall mindfulness did not change. MBCL appears to be feasible and acceptable for patients suffering from recurrent depressive symptoms who previously participated in MBCT. Selection bias may have been a factor as only experienced and motivated participants were used; this, however, suited our intention to co-create MBCL in close collaboration with knowledgeable users. Examination of the effectiveness of MBCL in a sufficiently powered randomised controlled trial is needed.

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