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Exploring the experience of anxiety after completing a mindfulness based stress reduction course

Alhakim, J. (2017). Exploring the experience of anxiety after completing a mindfulness based stress reduction course. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Difficulties with the experience of anxiety often embody one of the primary reasons behind clients seeking care and utilising the service of health care professionals. Anxiety is a complex emotion that involves an interplay of biological, cognitive, behavioural and affective factors in the acquisition and maintenance of difficulties related to this experience. Despite the attempt to classify anxiety related difficulties, the current diagnostic system does not offer an accurate categorical system of anxiety related disorders with distinct differences in aetiology, course of the disorder, prognosis, and choice of treatment. Additionally, there is growing evidence suggesting that anxiety disorders share important psychological processes. Therefore, practitioners have deemed it would be beneficial to move beyond diagnosis and begin to examine every day experiences of anxiety to provide a better picture of emotional distress.

This research explored how seven participants experienced anxiety after completing a mindfulness based stress reduction course. The study utilised a form of qualitative methodology, in order to maintain a close look at participants’ experiences. Participants were recruited with the help of teachers who facilitate this programme. Participants’ interviews were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Through the analysis two major themes emerged: ‘The ravaging tornado of anxiety’ and ‘tempering the storm through self-discovery’. Each of these themes entails several sub-themes.

The findings are considered in relation to the wider literature and links are made with theoretical models regarding reflexive awareness, being with emotions and embodiment. Clinical implications of the findings are also discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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