Mindfulness-based approaches: are they all the same?

J Clin Psychol. 2011 Apr;67(4):404-24. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20776. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Mindfulness-based approaches are increasingly employed as interventions for treating a variety of psychological, psychiatric and physical problems. Such approaches include ancient Buddhist mindfulness meditations such as Vipassana and Zen meditations, modern group-based standardized meditations, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and further psychological interventions, such as dialectical behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. We review commonalities and differences of these interventions regarding philosophical background, main techniques, aims, outcomes, neurobiology and psychological mechanisms. In sum, the currently applied mindfulness-based interventions show large differences in the way mindfulness is conceptualized and practiced. The decision to consider such practices as unitary or as distinct phenomena will probably influence the direction of future research.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Religion and Psychology