How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help?
Teasdale JD., Segal Z., Williams JM.
There is encouraging evidence that structured psychological treatments for depression, in particular cognitive therapy, can reduce subsequent relapse after the period of initial treatment has been completed. However, there is a continuing need for prophylactic psychological approaches that can be administered to recovered patients in euthymic mood. An information-processing analysis of depressive maintenance and relapse is used to define the requirements for effective prevention, and to propose mechanisms through which cognitive therapy achieves its prophylactic effects. This analysis suggests that similar effects can be achieved using techniques of stress-reduction based on the skills of attentional control taught in mindfulness meditation. An information-processing analysis is presented of mindfulness and mindlessness, and of their relevance to preventing depressive relapse. This analysis provides the basis for the development of Attentional Control Training, a new approach to preventing relapse that integrates features of cognitive therapy and mindfulness training and is applicable to recovered depressed patients.