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People with learning disabilities could benefit from mindfulness sessions

A mindfulness group helped people with learning disabilities improve their confidence, self-control and compassion, a study shows

A mindfulness group helped people with learning disabilities improve their confidence, self-control and compassion, a study shows


Picture: SPL

Attending a mindfulness group led to several psychological benefits for people with learning disabilities, including increased self-esteem, confidence, self-control and compassion towards themselves and others, a study, developing the ideas of several previous studies, shows.

Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain the views of a small number of people with learning disabilities about their experience of participating in the mindfulness-based stress reduction group.

The mindfulness programme had been adapted to focus on developing resilience and transferrable coping strategies, rather than simply being an ‘intervention’ for a mental health problem.

Breathing techniques

Among the key themes that emerged it was evident that participants had successfully learned and incorporated modified breathing techniques into their everyday lives as a strategy for dealing with situations they found to be stressful or difficult.

Mindfulness was felt to have helped people across wide-ranging areas of life including attitudes towards housework, issues of self-confidence, anger management and pain control. Participants also emphasised additional benefits relating to a sense of ‘belonging’ to the mindfulness group.

The authors reported that attending the mindfulness group had led to several psychological benefits including increased self-esteem, confidence, self-control and compassion towards themselves and others.

They conclude that mindfulness represents a potentially effective psycho-educational approach that can readily be adapted for people with learning disabilities, and that a full understanding of what mindfulness is, or its purpose, is not required for important gains to be achieved.


Dave Atkinson is an independent consultant nurse

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