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The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) as a follow-up intervention to Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy in adults with recurrent depression. We conducted an uncontrolled study in 17 patients with recurrent depression, in two successive groups. The first group contained novices to compassion training (N = 14); in the second group, ten of these participated again, in addition to three new participants (N = 13). The overall group contained 15 females and 2 males, aged between 37 and 71. The MBCL program was qualitatively evaluated using post-intervention focus group interviews in both groups. In addition, self-report questionnaires assessing depressive symptoms, worry and both self-compassion and mindfulness skills were administered before and after MBCL. No patients dropped out of the intervention. Average attendance was 7.52 (SD 0.73) out of eight sessions. Helpful elements were theory on the emotion regulation systems, practicing self-compassion explicitly and embodiment of a compassionate attitude by the teachers. Unhelpful elements were the lack of a clear structure, lack of time to practice compassion for self and the occurrence of the so-called back draft effect. We adapted the program in accordance with the feedback of the participants. Preliminary results showed a reduction in depressive symptoms in the second group, but not in the first group, and an increase in self-compassion in both groups. Worry and overall mindfulness did not change. MBCL appears to be feasible and acceptable for patients suffering from recurrent depressive symptoms who previously participated in MBCT. Selection bias may have been a factor as only experienced and motivated participants were used; this, however, suited our intention to co-create MBCL in close collaboration with knowledgeable users. Examination of the effectiveness of MBCL in a sufficiently powered randomised controlled trial is needed.

The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) as a follow-up intervention to Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy in adults with recurrent depression. We conducted an uncontrolled study in 17 patients with recurrent depression, in two successive groups. The first group contained novices to compassion training (N = 14); in the second group, ten of these participated again, in addition to three new participants (N = 13). The overall group contained 15 females and 2 males, aged between 37 and 71. The MBCL program was qualitatively evaluated using post-intervention focus group interviews in both groups. In addition, self-report questionnaires assessing depressive symptoms, worry and both self-compassion and mindfulness skills were administered before and after MBCL. No patients dropped out of the intervention. Average attendance was 7.52 (SD 0.73) out of eight sessions. Helpful elements were theory on the emotion regulation systems, practicing self-compassion explicitly and embodiment of a compassionate attitude by the teachers. Unhelpful elements were the lack of a clear structure, lack of time to practice compassion for self and the occurrence of the so-called back draft effect. We adapted the program in accordance with the feedback of the participants. Preliminary results showed a reduction in depressive symptoms in the second group, but not in the first group, and an increase in self-compassion in both groups. Worry and overall mindfulness did not change. MBCL appears to be feasible and acceptable for patients suffering from recurrent depressive symptoms who previously participated in MBCT. Selection bias may have been a factor as only experienced and motivated participants were used; this, however, suited our intention to co-create MBCL in close collaboration with knowledgeable users. Examination of the effectiveness of MBCL in a sufficiently powered randomised controlled trial is needed.

BackgroundMindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse in patients with recurrent depression, but relapse rates remain high. To further improve outcome for this group of patients, follow-up interventions may be needed. Compassion training focuses explicitly on developing self-compassion, one of the putative working mechanisms of MBCT. No previous research has been done on the effectiveness of compassion training following MBCT in patients with recurrent depression. Aims To investigate the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) in reducing (residual) depressive symptoms in patients with recurrent depression who previously participated in MBCT. Methods/design A randomized controlled trial comparing MBCL in addition to treatment as usual (TAU) with TAU only, in patients suffering from recurrent depressive episodes who completed an MBCT course in the past. Assessments will take place at baseline, post-treatment and at six months follow-up. After the control period, patients randomized to the TAU condition will be offered MBCL as well. Outcome measures Primary outcome measure is severity of depressive symptoms according to the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) at post-treatment. Secondary outcome measures are presence or absence of DSM-IV depressive disorder, rumination, self-compassion, mindfulness skills, positive affect, quality of life, experiential avoidance and fear of self-compassion. Discussion Our study is the first randomized controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of compassion training following MBCT in a recurrently depressed population.