Mindfulness interventions for psychosis: a systematic review of the literature

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2017 Feb;24(1):69-83. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12357. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: Psychosis and the more specific diagnosis of schizophrenia constitute a major psychiatric disorder which impacts heavily on the self-esteem, functioning and quality of life of those affected. A number of mindfulness therapies have been developed in recent years, showing promising results when used with people with the disorder. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: This review of the literature included only randomized controlled trials (RCTs), rather than other typically less robust methods of research (e.g. case studies, noncontrolled studies). WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: We concluded that mindfulness therapies can be safely used with people with psychosis and that they provide a number of therapeutic benefits compared with routine care and, in some cases, other interventions. Larger, methodologically improved trials are now recommended to evaluate the benefits of mindfulness therapies further.

Abstract: Introduction A growing number of mindfulness interventions are being used with individuals with psychosis. These therapies employ elements of acceptance and compassion in addition to mindfulness. A number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of these interventions have emerged in recent years, but no review of these latest trials exists. Question 'For individuals with psychosis, are mindfulness interventions more effective than treatment as usual or an alternative intervention, in improving patient-related outcomes as demonstrated in RCTs?' Method We undertook a systematic review of randomized controlled studies of mindfulness interventions for psychosis and schizophrenia (MIps). Studies were identified by searching the databases Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Allied and Complementary Medicine. Findings The review identified 11 RCTs investigating eight mindfulness interventions. Significant improvements were reported on a number of measures, although gains were mostly smaller in trials employing well-designed controls and where assessors were blind to treatment allocation. There was considerable heterogeneity amongst trials in the diversity of treatments reviewed and the range of outcomes assessed. Implications for Practice The findings suggest MIps are feasible for individuals with psychosis and provide a number of significant benefits over routine care and, in some cases, other interventions.

Keywords: acceptance; compassion; mindfulness; psychosis; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy*