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Discussion in 'Personal' started by nizebaby, Aug 23, 2019.
Has it already been trashed as a crackpot idea or will it take a while longer?
The trouble with all these 'new' ideas is that they are based on very old ideas which actually work, but which don't work when taken out of context or without the wider background training or knowledge. It's the lazy person's magic fix which, ultimately, isn't.
And, equally, the people who trash these 'crackpot' ideas do so because they are basing their knowledge of it only on what they see, again without knowing any of the other factors which would make them effective when done properly.
Essentially a form of Gestalt therapy which focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, an idea dating from the 1940s.
Whether it actually works or not is a different matter. I am not certain that the current practice of 'mindfulness' in schools has any beneficial effects on the pupils at all. It generally tends to be promoted by enthusiastic but inexperienced and uneducated amateurs.
It is a big thing with the NHS - CBT counselling.
Mindfulness is a thing,
It is part of CBT, which has a solid evidence base of efficacy
Ah, now cognitive behavioural therapy is something I have time for.
When I first came across mindfulness, it was in the context of walking. I naively thought that it meant you'd enjoy all the things around you rather than drifting off into some daydream. I was wrong. It was all about the mechanics of walking.
Then I chanced upon how to eat your christmas dinner mindfully. Frankly, that disgusted me.
Bandwagon for money earning psychobabble.
What is a thing?
Summat that ain't no-thang, I guess.
Exactly. This is a superb answer.
Why do you ask?
I practice mindfulness and meditation and I think it helps me in lots of ways, particularly in managing stress. People who trash it have typically not really tried it. It's like anything, it takes practice, it takes time to learn so you need a little patience.
If something works for you, and isn't harming anyone, why trash it? If you try it and it isn't your bag, why trash it?
Why does something have to be 'crackpot' just because you don't get it?
First of all, Mindfulness is not snake oil. It does seem to produce psychological and physical benefits.
1. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which is about 80 per cent meditation, has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK for use with people who have experienced three or more episodes of depression. And MBCT is now offered by some UK primary care trusts. The evidence from two randomized clinical trials of MBCT indicates that it reduces rates of relapse by 50% among patients who suffer from recurrent depression. The technique itself is an adaptation of traditional Theravada vipassana practice.
2. MBCT is itself based on the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) eight week program, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Research studies on MBSR, in particular, conducted over the past 25 years, have shown reliable and reproducible effectiveness in reducing medical and psychological symptoms. The MBSR program has provided effective treatment for reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. Participants in the MBSR program have shown reduced chronic pain, decreased symptoms of fibromyalgia, and improved sleep patterns.
3. The effectiveness of the MBSR program on immune function has also been examined. Participants in an 8 week MBSR course were subsequently vaccinated with influenza vaccine. Study results indicated that the meditators had significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine compared with those in a non-meditating control group.
4. Sara Lazar, a research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital has found that vipassana practitioners have a thicker cortex in some parts of their brain than non-meditators. The degree of thickness has also been found to correlate with length of practice. Lazar was surprised by one of her findings, "In one of the regions, the cortex of the meditators did not get thinner with age, as is usually seen in most people. This suggests that meditation practice may help slow down some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age. But this must be interpreted carefully, because it was a small study and we did not test people for cognitive abilities.
But having typed all that, I have reservations about its adoption as a stress-reducing tactic for pupils. It can induce dissociative states and other unwanted side-effects. Plus, there are a lot of 'educational experts' who have jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon because it can be a 'nice little earner' when it comes to Inset day fees. These advocates of Mindfulness are untrained and would not be around to pick up the pieces when things go wrong.
For more on that see this article:
The appeal of Mindfulness is that it can be decoupled from from the Buddhist tradition. You don't have to buy into all the dodgy stuff about reincarnation and 'higher', 'enlightened' states of consciousness. But the problem then is that the technique gets divorced from those who have the most expertise in it because they have decades of immersion in the practice and can navigate the student through rough patches.
For this reason, I think monica has it right. I would only ever want to be taught MIndfulness by a seasoned Buddhist monk.
The current debate about the value of Mindfulness is crystallized in the following very recent article and Brad Warner's response to it. Warner is a teacher in the Soto Zen tradition.
And for those of you who are materialists and entirely dismissive of the value of alleged spiritual experience, Warner's latest blog entry is worth a look.
With the above, for me it always comes down whether one privileges subjective experience over empiricism or vice-versa. The same point was at issue between the Tibetan Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and his father, the sceptical philosopher Jean-Francois Revel in the book The Monk and the Philosopher, one that I would strongly recommend to anyone who wishes to explore this angle further.
I'm an angler.
All these things get tossed at schools. One school I worked at did actually have a trained qualified counsellor on the staff (but he was the data manager) but mainly it's something people seem to take on to get Pro-active Innovator Brownie points.
Minfulness Man at our school is a Pastoral Support person. He ran 6 lunchtime sessions for self-referring kids. Box ticked. We Did Mindfulness.
I had a breakdown 20 odd years ago. I received 6 (is it always 6?) CBT sessions. I can't say it helped in any way at all.
We had a session on mindfulness last year. We had to eat chocolate mindfully . Drama teacher got very relaxed and fell asleep.
Don't be obtuse.
One kiddo was a CBT counsellor. Her clients were overwhelmingly from education. Teachers, Classroom Assistants etc.
I knew immediately you were going to say that. I think it was a reflex action.