What Next After MBSR/MBCT? An Open Trial of an 8-Week Follow-on Program Exploring Mindfulness of Feeling Tone (vedanā).
Williams JMG., Baer R., Batchelor M., Crane RS., Cullen C., De Wilde K., Fennell MJV., Kantor L., Kirby J., Ma SH., Medlicott E., Gerber B., Johnson M., Ong E-L., Peacock JW., Penman D., Phee A., Radley L., Watkin M., Taylor L.
Objectives: The effectiveness of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) has been established in many randomized controlled trials. However, effect sizes are often modest, and there remains ample scope to improve their effectiveness. One approach to this challenge is to offer a "follow-on" course to people who have completed an MBP and are interested in further skill development. We developed and tested a new 8-week course for this purpose based on awareness of feeling tone (vedanā), an understudied aspect of mindfulness in many current MBPs, incorporating new developments in neuroscience and trauma sensitivity. We examined its effectiveness and the frequency and severity of unpleasant experience and harm. Methods: In an open trial, 83 participants, 78 of whom had previously taken part in an MBP (majority MBSR or MBCT), completed the program in nine groups. Participants completed questionnaires before and after and gave qualitative written feedback at completion. Results: Participants reported significantly reduced depression (d = 0.56), stress (d = 0.36), and anxiety (d = 0.53) and increased well-being (d = 0.54) and mindfulness (d = 0.65) with 38% meeting criteria for reliable change on anxiety and depression. As expected, about three-quarters of participants reported some unpleasant experiences associated with mindfulness practice during the course, but none reported harm. Five participants showed "reliable deterioration" (an increase) in either depression or anxiety, but four of these five also gave anonymous qualitative feedback describing benefits of the course. Conclusions: Findings support the added value of a follow-on course based on the exploration of feeling tone for participants who have a range of previous mindfulness experience. Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12671-022-01929-0.