FROM SELF-HARM TO SELF-COMPASSION
Prof. Dora PERCZEL-FORINTOS
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) proved to be effective in preventing relapses in chronic depressivion and can be applied in suicide prevention also. According to Williams's model of entrapment, a person becomes suicidal when perceives the situation as unsolvable and feels hopeless. In such cases self-destructive beliefs are activated. The focus of MBCT in this state is on identifying suicidal cognitions and helping the person to take a distance from self-destructive cognitions and cultivate mindfulness as well as self-compassion.
Borderline patients (BPD) also get frequently suicidal due to their mindfulness deficit (Wuppermann, 2008) however, they commit non-suicidal self-injuries. If BPD patients learn to observe their self-destructive thoughts and emotions without reacting to or interpreting them, self-harm can be descreased.
In this presentation I will present the adaptation of MBCT for patients with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). The intervention was based on the 8-week MBCT protocol by Williams et al. (2017), which was originally developed to reduce suicidal ideation in recurrent depression. I will also present the modified protocol focusing on the most important aspects of BPD such as emotional dysregulation and impulse control. 49 patients filled in pre- and post-intervention measures: SCID-II, mindfulness (FFMQ), emotion regulation (CERQ), BDI, Beck Hoplessness Scale and a self-compassion scale. Our results indicated significant reduction in the frequency of NSSI with a large effect size (p<0.001; r=0.82), and also in rumination and in maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. Self-compassion, self-esteem and some aspects of mindfulness such as decription and being non-judgmental increased significantly.
In sum, the 8-week MBCT seems to be promising in decreasing emotion dysregulation and self-destructive behaviour.
Position: Head, Department of Clinical Psychology at Semmelweis University
Profession: clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, cognitive behavioural therapist with European accreditation, mindfulness teacher.
Specialization: anxiety, depression, suicide prevention, trauma, low self-esteem, MBCT
Studies: graduated at Eötvös University, postgraduate studies at Harvard Univ., (USA) and Oxford University, UK. From 2001, she has been the Director of Psychology at the National Institute of Psychiatry in Hungary. She is a pioneer of cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness in Hungary. She applied new methods in Hungary in psychiatric care: assertive training, CBT-based weight loss group, problem-solving training in suicide prevention, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Her current research focuses on the clinical application of mindfulness (chronic headache, impulse control disorders). She is the author of numerous scientific publications and textbooks.