Mindfulness Therapy for Survivors of Childhood Adversity: What's the Use?



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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) warrant clinical concern due to the consequences and impacts on the survivors’ biological, psychological, and social functioning. The frontline therapy for survivors of ACEs are trauma-focused therapies (TFTs), however TFTs are infrequently used by therapists. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) may be a promising alternative due to higher use rates among practitioners and similar treatment effects. Questions about potential barriers to using TFTs and MBIs were developed using the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework, which purports three core factors that influence clinical uptake: context (e.g., practicing in a workplace congruent with MBIs or TFTs), evidence (e.g., knowing/believing MBIs or TFTs are effective for their clients), and facilitation (e.g., having the training and support to deliver MBIs or TFTs). Via email, this 25-question online survey was sent to 1,449 practicing therapists who see adults and/or children seeking treatment related to ACEs. A total of 68 surveys were completed. Slightly more participants endorsed using MBIs with adults (60%) and children (50%) than endorsed using TFTs with adults (53%) and children (42%) often (at least every other session) endorsed using when using TFTs and MBIs at least every other session, but these differences were not statistically significant (p’s > .2). More participants indicated experiencing strong barriers that prevent use of TFTs compared to MBIs (χ2[2, N = 68] = 6.250, p = .012), particularly context-related barriers (p = .002). These results could be explained by not being able to use TFTs at work due to specific population concerns. Findings may inform training/dissemination of promoting an efficacious treatment for survivors of ACEs.



Adverse Childhood Experiences, Mindfulness-Based Intervention