Author(s): Brewer JA, Davis JH, Goldstein J
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Abstract Though relatively new to Western psychological and spiritual cultures, mindfulness training is becoming more widespread in the general public and is beginning to show promise therapeutically for maladies ranging from generalized stress to specific addictions. However, difficulties remain both with individuals being able to learn core concepts and techniques, such as concentration meditation, and more broadly, with treatment interventions not being optimized to helping individuals learn these. In this manuscript, we examine possible contributing factors to these difficulties. We bring together what is known scientifically about basic learning processes such as operant conditioning with some inspirational suggestions drawn from the early Buddhist dialogues collected in the Theravada Buddhist cannon, in particular the description of seven psychological factors known as "the factors of awakening". Bringing together scientific and textual suggestions, we give an overview of how primary operant conditioning processes lead to stress, and importantly, how a minor shift in emphasis in providing mindfulness training may indeed co-opt these very processes for the reduction and cessation of stress and suffering. Finally, we provide suggestions as to how these can be tracked individually and clinically over time.
This article was published in Mindfulness (N Y)
and referenced in Abnormal and Behavioural Psychology