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J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Jul;23(7):534-540. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0427. Epub 2017 Apr 14.

Self-Reported Long-Term Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Patients with Bipolar Disorder.

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1 Mood Disorders Unit, Division of Psychiatric Specialties, Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, Geneva University Hospitals , Geneva, Switzerland .
2 Anxiety Disorders Program, Division of Liaison Psychiatry and Crisis Intervention, Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, Geneva University Hospitals , Geneva, Switzerland .
3 CMME (Hôpital Sainte-Anne), Université Paris Descartes , Paris, France .
4 INSERM U894, Center of Psychiatry and Neurosciences , Paris, France .



This study focused on patients with bipolar disorder (BD), several years after their participation in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). It aimed at documenting sustained mindfulness practice, perceived long-term benefit from the program, and changes regarded as direct consequences of the intervention.


This cross-sectional survey took place at least 2 years after MBCT for 70.4% of participants.


It was conducted in two specialized outpatient units for BDs that are part of the Geneva University Hospitals (Switzerland) and the Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris (France).


Eligibility criteria were a diagnosis of BD according to DSM-IV and participation in at least four MBCT sessions. Response rate was 66.4%. The final sample included 71 outpatients (71.8% bipolar I, 28.2% bipolar II).


A questionnaire retrospectively assessed patient-perceived change, benefit from MBCT, and current mindfulness practice.


Proportions of respondents who practiced mindfulness at least once a week were 54.9% for formal practice (body scan, sitting meditation, mindful walking, or movements) and 57.7% for informal practice (mindful daily activities). Perceived benefit for the prevention of relapse was moderate, but patients acknowledged long-lasting effects and persistent changes in their way of life. Formal mindfulness practice at least once a week tended to be associated with increased long-lasting effects (p = 0.052), whereas regular informal practice and mindful breathing were significantly associated with persistent changes in daily life (p = 0.038) and better prevention of depressive relapse (p = 0.035), respectively. The most frequently reported positive change was increased awareness of being able to improve one's health.


Despite methodological limitations, this survey allowed documenting mindfulness practice and perceived sustained benefit from MBCT in patients with BD. Participants particularly valued increased awareness that they can influence their own health. Both informal and formal practices, when sustained in the long term, might promote long-lasting changes.


bipolar disorder; long-term benefit; mindfulness practice; mindfulness-based cognitive therapy; mood disorder; relapse prevention

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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