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J Ration Emot Cogn Behav Ther. 2011 Jun;29(2):92-119. Epub 2009 Jun 10.

New Strategies for Combining Mindfulness with Integrative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) severely impacts social functioning, distress levels, and utilization of medical care compared with that of other major psychiatric disorders. Neither pharmacological nor psychotherapy interventions have adequately controlled cardinal symptoms of GAD: pervasive excessive anxiety and uncontrollable worry. Research has established cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the most effective psychotherapy for controlling GAD; however, outcomes remain at only 50% reduction, with high relapse rates. Mindfulness has been integrated with CBT to treat people suffering from numerous psychiatric disorders, with mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) being the most researched. Preliminary evidence supports MBSR's potential for controlling GAD symptoms and key researchers suggest mindfulness practices possess key elements for treating GAD. Classical mindfulness (CM) differs significantly from MBSR and possesses unique potentials for directly targeting process and state GAD symptoms inadequately treated by CBT. This article introduces the theory and practice of CM, its differences from MBSR, and a critical review of MBSR and CBT treatments for GAD. CM strategies designed to complement CBT targeting cardinal GAD symptoms are outlined with a case study illustrating its use.

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