Benefits and Barriers to Attending MBCT Reunion Meetings: An Insider Perspective
Hopkins V., Kuyken W.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a promising approach aimed at the prevention of relapse in people suffering from recurrent depression. However, little is known about what factors support gains in the longer term. This study examines participants' experiences of the perceived benefits and barriers to MBCT reunion attendance. Thirteen people, who had participated in MBCT classes for recurrent depression within a primary care setting, were interviewed about their experiences of the reunion meetings or their reasons for not attending. Seven of these had completed their program within the previous 12 to 18 months at the time of interview, and six had completed their program between 20 and 48 months prior to the time of the interview. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to analyze participants' accounts. Four themes highlighted the participants' experiences: in terms of benefits, reunion attendees experienced the reunions as a booster reminding them of their mindfulness practices and as a sanctuary where these practices were further nurtured within an accepting and compassionate environment. Barriers to reunion attendance were difficulties around the group experience and wanting to put the experience behind them. This related to the memory of depression as well as to the program and group experience for some individuals. Theoretical, clinical and research implications are discussed. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.