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Contextos Clínicos

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VANDENBERGHE, Luc  and  ASSUNCAO, Alysson Bruno. Concepts of mindfulness in Langer and Kabat-Zinn: an encounter of Western science with Eastern spirituality. Contextos Clínic [online]. 2009, vol.2, n.2, pp. 124-135. ISSN 1983-3482.

Mindfulness has become a salient concept in today's clinical psychology. It descends from two distinct traditions of thought. The first emerged from research in experimental psychology done by Ellen Langer. The second began with the introduction, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, of Buddhist meditative practices in behavioral medicine. Thus, a millenary spiritual practice that emanates oriental philosophy merged with a body of knowledge established by the strategies of Western objective science. The present article reviews the ways in which this concept, starting from its two distinguished sources, has been articulated in the psychology literature. The definition of mindfulness is explored as well as its empirical foundations and contemporary thinking. This concept contributed to the theoretical framework of different cognitive and behavioral models of present day therapy. Examples are dialectical behavior therapy and relapse-prevention for clients who successfully completed a treatment of depression with cognitive therapy. The concept also contributed to the study of relationships. We discuss some of its applications in the field of couple therapy and in work on the therapist-client relationship. We argue that the tradition that originated in Buddhism and the one that was developed in experimental research are highly compatible. They share a valuable understanding of human suffering and its origins. They sustain similar solutions for the experiential distress clients bring to therapy. And finally, the article discusses how both approaches suggest similar considerations for personal development as well as for treatment

Keywords : mindfulness; cognitive-behavior therapy; Buddhism.

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