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Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Jun;31(4):617-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.02.003. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

The potential impact of mindfulness on exposure and extinction learning in anxiety disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125, United States.


Mindfulness based approaches have shown promise in the treatment of various anxiety disorders. However, further research is needed to more precisely elucidate mechanisms of action through which mindfulness practice may enhance treatment for anxiety. Given centrality of exposure-based procedures in the treatment of anxiety, it is important to consider ways in which mindfulness may affect exposure and extinction processes. In fact, numerous findings in the basic science of extinction point to the possible ways in which mindfulness may facilitate extinction learning. The present paper aims to critically review the literature surrounding mindfulness and extinction learning in order to more fully explore the ways in which mindfulness-based treatments may positively impact exposure and extinction processes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. This will provide a unique synthesis of newer, acceptance-based behavior therapies with established principles of effective behavioral treatments.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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