While cognitive behavior therapy has been found to be effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a significant percentage of patients struggle with residual symptoms. There is some conceptual basis for suggesting that cultivation of mindfulness may be helpful for people with GAD. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a group treatment derived from mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues. MBSR uses training in mindfulness meditation as the core of the program. MBCT incorporates cognitive strategies and has been found effective in reducing relapse in patients with major depression (Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., Ridgeway, V., Soulsby, J., & Lau, M. (2000). Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 6, 615-623).
Method: Eligible subjects recruited to a major academic medical center participated in the group MBCT course and completed measures of anxiety, worry, depressive symptoms, mood states and mindful awareness in everyday life at baseline and end of treatment.
Results: Eleven subjects (six female and five male) with a mean age of 49 (range=36-72) met criteria and completed the study. There were significant reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms from baseline to end of treatment.
Conclusion: MBCT may be an acceptable and potentially effective treatment for reducing anxiety and mood symptoms and increasing awareness of everyday experiences in patients with GAD. Future directions include development of a randomized clinical trial of MBCT for GAD.