Last updated on 20th June 2010
Ruth Baer's new book "Assessing mindfulness & acceptance processes in clients: illuminating the theory & practice of change" has just been published. The dust jacket description states "How does mindfulness work? Thousands of therapists utilize mindfulness-based treatments and have witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of these approaches on clients suffering from anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues. But for many clinicians, the psychological processes and brain functions that explain these changes remain a mystery, and effective methodologies for measuring each client's progress are elusive. In 'Assessing mindfulness & acceptance processes in clients', Ruth Baer presents a collection of articles by some of the most respected mindfulness researchers and therapists practicing today. Each contribution assesses variables that represent potential processes of change, such as mindfulness, acceptance, self-compassion, spirituality, and focus on values, and determines the importance of each of these processes to enhanced psychological functioning and quality of life. Clinicians learn to accurately measure each process in individual clients, an invaluable skill for any practicing therapist. A seminal contribution to the existing professional literature on mindfulness-based treatments, this book is also an essential resource for any mental health professional seeking to illuminate the processes at work behind any mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy".
The book starts with an introduction to mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions and processes of change. Then in Part 1 there are eight chapters contributed by a total of eighteen different authors. Subjects include mindfulness, decentering, psychological flexibility, values processes, emotion regulation, self-compassion, spiritual engagement, brain neuroplasticity, and working memory capacity. The three chapters in Part 2, by ten further authors, focus on special populations and settings - children & adolescents, medical populations, and the workplace. I find it a pleasure exploring state of the art writing by so many particularly active researchers in these overlapping fields. An added bonus is the fact that several key assessment measures are included. Ruth Baer details the "Five facet mindfulness questionnaire (FFMQ)" (see too this website's page "Wellbeing & calming skills" for more on this measure) and the "Experiences questionnaire". Additionally there are the "Acceptance and action questionnaire-II (AAQ-II)", the "Valued living questionnaire-2 (VLQ-2)", the "Difficulties in emotion regulation scale", the "Avoidance and fusion questionnaire for youth (AFQ-Y)", and the "Chronic pain acceptance questionnaire".
I like this book. As Zindel Segal writes "Informed by the maxim that you can't study what you can't see, Baer's book provides the necessary psychometric underpinning to further our understanding of core change processes in mindfulness-based interventions", while Mark Williams comments "This is an important and timely book. Ruth Baer has brought together international experts in the clinical and research fields to build a critically important bridge between ancient wisdom and modern psychological science. This book will be essential reading for students, researchers, and practitioners of mindfulness and acceptance-based approaches." This hardback edition costs about £30 at the moment. Could be well worth it, if this is a field you're interested in.