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Experiences of mindfulness for clients with OCD: An IPA study

Bond, Miya

Experiences of mindfulness for clients with OCD: An IPA study Thumbnail


Miya Bond


Mindfulness has been proposed as a potential treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a debilitating condition that for many is life-long. However, it is not clear whether, and how, mindfulness is experienced as helpful by OCD sufferers. The aim of this research was to explore the experiences of people with OCD who used mindfulness practices in order to investigate these questions. A study into how mindfulness is experienced within the context of OCD is important to establish how OCD sufferers apply mindfulness both in the treatment of their OCD and more generally in their lives; to hear from them what understanding they have about how mindfulness affects their OCD; and to discover what they perceive as helpful or unhelpful.
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) was used to analyse semi-structured interview transcripts from seven participants (3 men, 4 women) who had lived with OCD for between 2 and 45 years and who had used mindfulness from four months to five years.
The analysis revealed that while mindfulness was not a cure for OCD, all the participants considered it to be a beneficial adjunct to, or replacement for, the existing treatment for OCD. Mindfulness helped participants change their relationship to intrusive thoughts and develop a new way of being more comfortable with themselves and their OCD. This finding has added to the limited research that has shown mindfulness practice can be a useful addition to the treatment for OCD. However, this study also found that mindfulness could, for some, become incorporated into the OCD in ways that might be considered unhelpful (see journal article).
The thesis discussion focuses on two main areas. First, it examines how the participants’ lived experience of OCD sits alongside the dominant models of OCD outlined in the literature review. Second, the finding that there are possible areas of concern for the use of mindfulness is addressed within a more general discussion of whether mindfulness is useful just as a technique in the treatment of OCD. The discussion concludes with some implications for clinical practice and recommendations for further research.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Keywords OCD, mindfulness
Public URL
Award Date Jul 21, 2015


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