Experience of mindfulness in people with bipolar disorder: a qualitative study

Psychotherapy Research : Journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research
Paul ChadwickLyn Ellett


The aim of the study was to explore experiences of practising mindfulness and how this related to living with, and managing, bipolar disorder. Qualitative methodology was used to explore the experiences of 12 people with bipolar disorder who had been practising mindfulness for at least 18 weeks. Semi-structured interviews exploring how mindfulness practice related to living with bipolar disorder were recorded verbatim, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Seven themes emerged: Focusing on what is present; clearer awareness of mood state/change; acceptance; mindfulness practice in different mood states; reducing/stabilizing negative affect; relating differently to negative thoughts; reducing impact of mood state. All participants reported subjective benefits and challenges of mindfulness practice, and gave insights into processes of change.


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