Background: "The Work" is a meditative technique developed by Byron Katie in 1986 and is practiced by hundreds of thousands of people in more than 30 countries. The technique trains individuals to identify the thoughts that cause stress and suffering in a systematic and comprehensive way and to meditatively "investigate" these thoughts, thus enabling them to experience a different interpretation of reality.
Goals: The current study aimed to assess the effect of "The Work" meditation on psychological scales among a non-clinical sample.
Methods: This was a prospective research study conducted without a control group. The intervention consisted of a 9-day workshop of "The Work" meditation technique. Fifty-eight participants completed the following questionnaires before and after the intervention: satisfaction with life (SWLS), sense of coherence (SOC), general well-being (MHI), self-esteem (SES) and demographics.
Results: A significant improvement was obtained in all measures after "The Work" intervention: SWLS (21.6 to 25.07, p<0.001); SOC-comprehensibility subscale (4.05 to 4.55, p<0.001), SOC-manageability subscale (4.39 to 4.9, p<0.001) and meaningfulness subscale (4.58 to 5.07, p<0.001); SES (17.61 to 21.56, p<0.001); General wellbeing-well-being subscale (4.34 to 4.87, p<0.001) and distress subscale (3.42 to 2.79, p<0.001).
Discussion: A sense of coherence is an important resource for coping with challenging life events and promoting well-being and health. This resource can be influenced by mind-body interventions. Satisfaction with life is a subjective judgment of satisfaction with one's life in relation to one's own unique criteria. It is a central resource in mental and physical health promotion. "The Work" meditation technique includes cognitive conceptualization and processes, which may have contributed to the increase demonstrated in this scale. Psychological well-being scales also improved--a finding which has health, social and economic implications in the general population. The findings of the current study should be evaluated in light of its limitations, mainly the lack of a control group.
Conclusions: The current pilot study shows the potentially beneficial effects of "The Work" technique as a method of intervention for improving results on psychological scales and promoting mental health among the general population. Future randomized controlled studies should examine the effectiveness of "The Work" intervention in this population.