Mindfulness and meditation in the workplace: An acceptance and commitment therapy approach

Book chapter


Bond, F. W., Flaxman, P. E. and Lloyd, J. 2016. Mindfulness and meditation in the workplace: An acceptance and commitment therapy approach. in: West, M. A. (ed.) The Psychology of Meditation: Research and Practice Oxford University Press. pp. 241-258
AuthorsBond, F. W., Flaxman, P. E. and Lloyd, J.
EditorsWest, M. A.
Abstract

There is a wide-range and growing body of evidence that mental health and behavioural effectiveness are influenced more by how people interact with their thoughts and feelings than by their form (e.g., how negative they are) or frequency. Research has demonstrated this key finding in a wide-range of areas. For example, in chronic pain, psychosocial disability is predicted more by the experiential avoidance of pain than by the degree of pain (McCracken, 1998). A number of therapeutic approaches have been developed that share this key insight: distress tolerance (e.g., Brown, Lejuez, Kahler, & Strong, 2002; Schmidt, Richey, Cromer, & Buckner, 2007), thought suppression (e.g., Wenzlaff & Wegner, 2000), and mindfulness (Baer, 2003). It is also central to a number of the newer contextual cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) approaches to treatment, such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2001), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT; Linehan, 1993), metacognitive therapy (Wells, 2000), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999).

The purpose of this chapter is to describe how ACT conceptualises mindfulness and tries to enhance it in the pursuit of promoting mental health and behavioural effectiveness (e.g., productivity at work). To this end, we discuss ACT’s key construct of psychological flexibility, which involves mindfulness, and how it has led to a somewhat different approach not only to conceptualising mindfulness, but also how we try to enhance it in the workplace. In so doing, we hope to show that whilst formal meditation practice is valued in ACT, it is only one strategy that is used to promote mindfulness, as well as psychological flexibility more generally.

Book titleThe Psychology of Meditation: Research and Practice
Page range241-258
Year2016
PublisherOxford University Press
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Publication dates
Print28 Jan 2016
OnlineMar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Mar 2022
ISBN9780199688906
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/med:psych/9780199688906.003.0011
Copyright holder© 2016
Additional information

This material was originally published in The Psychology of Meditation: Research and Practice edited by West, M. A., and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press https://doi.org/10.1093/med:psych/9780199688906.003.0011 For permission to reuse this material, please visit http://global.oup.com/academic/rights.

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