Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Psychiatry

Effectiveness of Compassionate Mind Training on Depression, Anxiety, and Self-Criticism in a Group of Iranian Depressed Patients

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Psychiatry

Effectiveness of Compassionate Mind Training on Depression, Anxiety, and Self-Criticism in a Group of Iranian Depressed Patients

Article excerpt

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of compassionate mind training (CMT) on symptoms of depression and anxiety in Iranian depressed sufferers .

Method: Nineteen depressed patients aged 20 to 40 (Beck Depression Inventory value≥20) were randomly assigned into two groups. The experimental group participated in 12 sessions of group therapy based on Paul Gilbert's manual of CMT. The control group was given no intervention. The participants were assessed by Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Anxiety Scale (AS), and Levels of Self-Criticism (LSCS) questionnaires at the beginning and immediately after the intervention. To follow-up the therapeutic effect of CMT, the three questionnaires were answered again by participants two months after the end of the intervention. Data were analyzed by independent samples ttest.

Results: The results revealed that CMT significantly decreases depression (P<0.05) and anxiety score (P<0.05) in the follow-up study, but not immediately after the intervention. Although CMT decreased selfcriticism, this effect was marginally insignificant.

Conclusion: The findings indicated that CMT could alleviatedepression and anxiety in a group of Iranian depressed patients.

Key words: Major depressive disorders, Anxiety disorders, Self-criticism, Self-compassion, Compassionate Mind Training

Iran J Psychiatry 2013; 8:3: 113-117

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most common psychiatric disorder in general population and a significant cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality. According to WHO, more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression; it is the leading cause of disability and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease (1).The lifetime prevalence of MDD in USA, Australia and Europe is 5-7% (2).In Iran, the prevalence of MDD is estimated at 2.98%, and is 2.75 times higher among women(3).Furthermore, women in childbearing age (20 to 40) are at a high risk of MDD (4).The prevalence of MDD is much higher in the city of Tehran and is determined to be 4.4% (women= 5.7%, men= 3.1%) (5).There is a strong relationship between depression and self-criticism (6). Self-criticism is associated with lifetime risk of depression. It is even a potentially important prospective predictor of depressive symptomatology (6). On the other hand, dip in mood triggers self-criticism by itself. This mutual relationship sets up a vicious circle that worsens the condition (7).

Like self-criticism, anxiety has co-occurrence with depression (8). Comorbidity of anxiety and depression not only aggravates the prognosis, but also increases the risk of suicide commitment (2).The relationship between anxiety and depression is partly rooted in self-criticism. Some studies showed that self-criticism fully mediates the relationship between depression, anxiety, and parental shaming (9, 10). On the other hand, depression and anxiety, when one feels that they are uncontrollable, raise self-criticism (6).

There are different psychological concepts utilized recently to promote mental health, improve the ways of thinking and feeling processes, and to upgrade therapeutic methods for mental disorders. Selfcompassion is one of these concepts newly presented to substitute with the older concept of self-esteem (11).

Self-compassion has been defined by Neff(2003) for the first time as being composed of three main components: (a) self-kindness versus self-judgment; (b) common humanity versus isolation; and (c) mindfulness versus over-identification (11). Studies have shown that higher self-compassion is associated with lower depression and anxiety symptoms, mental disorder, self-criticism (12, 13), and more wellbeing and resiliency (14, 15).

Based on studies on self-compassion, Gilbert used this construct for therapeutic purposes. He structured compassionate mind training (CMT) from cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) (16). Construction of CMT is rooted in inefficiency of CBT in treatment of negative emotions (17). …

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