Mindfulness is the big “invogue” idea in health; and, particularly, in Mental Health. I have already written about Mindfulnesstwice on Blasting News: “Mindfulness: Panacea orFad? cure-all or impermanent vogue?” and “Mindfulness and the 'promiscuity' ofBuddhist thought”. I have also written alot about existentialism, most recently: “Life after existentialism: living inpost-exisential times”. I now what tobring these two topics together.

WhileMindfulness has been in the ascendance in the last few years, Existentialismhas slipped out of favour. Existentialism was “a big thing” in post-war France, but whilst the termis still floated about, the existential moment has passed. Psychology mirrors philosophy’s relationshipwith existentialism.

Frankldeveloped a specific form of psychotherapy, which he called “Logotherapy”. This was unique because it was explicit inits basis in existentialism. This cameto prominence (you guessed it!), just after World War 2.

Health systemsdon’t like this kind of existential psychology because it is “does not have measureableoutcomes and is not cost-effective”. Psychologykind of divides into two types: one is “exploratory” therapy; and this is notgood, because it does not have clear goals, with recognisable outcomes, and is along-term and expensive option. Theother form of therapy is a kind of “intervention”. This does not deal with the person, per se;but with their specific thoughts, behaviours; and is good because it isshort-term, goal-focused, measureable and cost-effective.

Exploratoryand existential therapies delve deeper, and thus require the patient being intherapy for a long-time. “Intervention”therapies aim to “equip the patient with tools” – teach them how to deal with situationsetc.

So, back toMindfulness…. Mindfulness is an “intervention” therapy that “seeks to teach thepatient the skills of Mindfulness”. So,no, Mindfulness does not, and cannot, respond to existential angst. Mindfulness is a discrete "skill" or "intervention" - it is not a panacea, it does not help with "The Will To Meaning", which was the basis of Frankl's Logotherapy.

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