Advertisement

Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 908–924 | Cite as

Centering Prayer as an Alternative to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention

  • Joshua J. Knabb
Original Paper

Abstract

In the last two decades, mindfulness has made a significant impact on Western secular psychology, as evidenced by several new treatment approaches that utilize mindfulness practices to ameliorate mental illness. Based on Buddhist teachings, mindfulness offers individuals the ability to, among other things, decenter from their thoughts and live in the present moment. As an example, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) teaches decentering and mindfulness techniques to adults in an eight-session group therapy format so as to reduce the likelihood of depression relapse. Yet, some Christian adults may prefer to turn to their own religious heritage, rather than the Buddhist tradition, in order to stave off depression relapse. Thus, the purpose of this article is to present centering prayer, a form of Christian meditation that is rooted in Catholic mysticism, as an alternative treatment for preventing depression relapse in adults. I argue that centering prayer overlaps considerably with MBCT, which makes it a suitable treatment alternative for many Christians in remission from depressive episodes.

Keywords

Centering prayer Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy Christianity Depression Relapse 

References

  1. Arico, C. (1999). A taste of silence: A guide to the fundamentals of centering prayer. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  2. Bangley, B. (2006). The cloud of unknowing. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beck, A. (1976). Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  4. Blanton, P. (2010). The other mindful practice: Centering prayer and psychotherapy. Pastoral Psychology.Google Scholar
  5. Contemplative Outreach vision. (n.d.). From http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org. Retrieved 28 Aug 2010.
  6. Crane, R. (2009). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Finney, J., & Malony, H. (1985a). An empirical study of contemplative prayer as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 13, 284–290.Google Scholar
  8. Finney, J., & Malony, H. (1985b). Contemplative prayer and its use in psychotherapy: A theoretical model. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 13, 172–181.Google Scholar
  9. Hofmann, S., Sawyer, A., Witt, A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 169–183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jankowski, P. (2006). Facilitating change through contemplative prayer. In K. Helmeke (Ed.), The therapist’s handbook for integrating spirituality in counseling: Homework, handouts and activities for use in psychotherapy (pp. 241–249). New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  11. Johnson, M., Dose, A., Pipe, T., Petersen, W., Huschka, M., Gallenberg, M., et al. (2009). Centering prayer for women receiving chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer: A pilot study. Oncology Nursing Forum, 36, 421–428.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnston, W. (2000). The mysticism of the cloud of unknowing. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Judy, D. (2003). Rediscovering Christ, the healer. In S. Mijares (Ed.), Modern psychology and ancient wisdom: Psychological healing practices from the world’s religious traditions (pp. 45–69). New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Random House, Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.Google Scholar
  16. Keating, T. (1997). Invitation to love: The way of Christian contemplation. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  17. Keating, T. (2009). Intimacy with God: An introduction to centering prayer. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  18. Ma, S., & Teasdale, J. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: Replication and exploration of differential relapse prevention effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 31–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Maguire, J. (2001). Essential Buddhism: A complete guide to beliefs and practices. New York: Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  20. Main, J. (1981). Christian meditation [Audiotapes]. Montreal: The Benedictine Priory.Google Scholar
  21. Main, J. (1998). Moment of Christ: The path of meditation. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. McGinn, B. (2006). The essential writings of Christian mysticism. New York: Random House, Inc.Google Scholar
  23. Meninger, W. (1994). The loving search for God: Contemplative prayer and the cloud of unknowing. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  24. Merton, T. (1961). New seeds of contemplation. Abbey of Gethsemani Inc.Google Scholar
  25. Merton, T. (2003). The inner experience: Notes on contemplation. New York: HarperOne.Google Scholar
  26. Miller, M. (2007). Contemplative prayer branches out from Catholicism to all Christianity. The Paramus post. From http://www.paramuspost.com. Retrieved 28 Aug 2010.
  27. Monroe, S. (2010). Recurrence in major depression: Assessing risk indicators in the context of risk estimates. In C. Richards & M. Perri (Eds.), Relapse prevention for depression (pp. 27–49). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nierenberg, A., Petersen, T., & Alpert, J. (2003). Prevention of relapse and recurrence in depression: The role of long-term pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 64, 13–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pennington, M. (1980). Centering prayer: Renewing an ancient Christian prayer form. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  30. Pennington, M. (1986). Centering prayer: Refining the rules. Review for Religious, 46, 386–393.Google Scholar
  31. Pennington, M. (1999). Centered living: The way of centering prayer. Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph.Google Scholar
  32. Pennington, M. (2000). True self/false self: Unmasking the spirit within. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  33. Pennington, M., Keating, T., & Clarke, T. (2007). Finding grace at the center: The beginning of centering prayer. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. Segal, Z., Williams, J., & Teasdale, J. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  35. Teasdale, J., Segal, Z., & Williams, J. (1995). How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness) training help? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 25–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Teasdale, J., Segal, Z., & Williams, J. (2000). Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 615–623.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. The Pew Forum. (2008a). Many Americans say other faiths can lead to eternal life. From http://pewforum.org/many-americans-say-other-faiths-can-lead-to-eternal-life.aspx. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  38. The Pew Forum. (2008b). United States religious landscape survey. From http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  39. Vasiliadis, H., Lesage, A., Adair, C., Wang, P., & Kessler, R. (2007). Do Canada and the United States differ in prevalence of depression and utilization of services? Psychiatric Services, 58, 63–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philhaven HospitalMount GretnaUSA

Personalised recommendations