Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Else Bisseling (Donders series 407)

21 November 2019

Promotor: prof. dr. A. Speckens
Co-promotor: dr. M. van der Lee,  dr. M. Schellekens

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for distressed cancer patients: clinical relevance and therapeutic alliance

The present thesis focused on examining the effectiveness of an internet-based mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (eMBCT) and a group-based MBCT (MBCT) in reducing psychological distress in cancer patients. In a multicenter RCT, the researchers investigated the effectiveness of both MBCT and eMBCT in reducing psychological distress in cancer patients. Results showed that patients in both MBCT and eMBCT conditions reported a bigger reduction of psychological distress than those in the TAU (treatment as usual) condition. Therapeutic alliance contributed to this reduction. Therapeutic alliance increased over time in both conditions. This increase did not differ between MBCT and eMBCT. The relationship with reduction of psychological distress differed between treatments: a weaker early therapeutic alliance predicted higher psychological distress at post-treatment in MBCT but not in eMBCT. Patients emphasized the importance of being informed about the possibility to take part in a mindfulness-based intervention at an early treatment stage.