The role of mindfulness in the cognitive-behavioural treatment of problem gambling


Recent years have witnessed the emergence of mindfulness meditation as an important intervention in the alleviation of illness-related disability and distress. Although originally developed within the context of physical illnesses such as chronic back pain, recent years have seen mindfulness meditation effective in the alleviation of emotional distress, especially anxiety and depression. Mindfulness meditation assists the individual in learning more adaptive ways of responding to aversive mental states by encouraging a focus on remaining present, non-judgement, and acceptance towards all mental states. Unlike cognitive therapy there is no attempt to directly challenge or restructure cognition. Given the prominence of distorted thinking among problem gamblers and the difficulty in modifying them, mindfulness meditation holds promise as an adjunctive intervention to help problem gamblers learn to cope with gambling-relevant cognitive distortions. A case study is presented illustrating the integration of mindfulness meditation into treatment for problem gambling.

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