Is “mindfulness” CBT or just distraction?

Posted by Rex Alexander on Tue 7 May 24 in Mindfulness, REBT & Other therapies compared |


In the context of a larger discussion we have been having  regarding “mindfulness” practices and CBT-REBT, a reader raises an important question about whether mindfulness constitutes a “distraction” or is it the antithesis of distraction? 


Yes.  I believe it is.  However, as process and as experience, it is difficult to describe.  And even to the extent that you can describe it with language, without the process and the experience, the language sounds pretty hollow. It is not unlike the way people assume that REBT is just another form of positive thinking,  or that it is about becoming an unemotional “Mr. Spock” kind of guy.  Changing an (irrational) belief–really changing it–and getting the immediate emotional kick that comes with it is a powerful experience. It is not in any way “positive thinking.”

Sam Harris Waking Up
Meditation Course
on Android and iPhone



When I recommend titles in the For Dummies series, I feel the need to add this little disclaimer. Unfortunately, I think some people may be off put by the “cutesy” titles, and erroneously assume that the content is trivial or juvenile. That is understandable, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is not easy and is quite an accomplishment for authors to be accepted into the For Dummies publishing family. Not only must they meet high standards of quality and expertise, but authors must conform to the For Dummies standard formatting which makes the content readable, easy to navigate around and easy to assimilate. These are serious, quality pieces of writing, well-worth your time and attention.   ~Rex


Having said that, “distraction” is a perfectly valid strategy for dealing with anger and other strong emotions, as Dr. Ellis frequently talks about.  However, the thing that many miss, I think, is that distraction is not very useful if it is a substitute for the hard work of rigorously disputing and acting on new, rational beliefs as “homework” and in various other ways. I am all for a “multi-modal,” eclectic bag in using CBT-REBT, but over and over again, I do tend to try to bring the discussion back to the core principles.

I am not sure exactly what the  “segue” is between CBT and mindfulness, but I know there is one, and it is one of the areas I intend to gain a better understanding of over time.

Warm regards,





How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Originally posted 2014-02-10 22:42:51.

Follow me
Latest posts by Rex Alexander (see all)
Please share the love . . .

Tags: , , , ,

Join discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2018-2024 All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored Child Child-Theme, v2., on top of
the Parent-Theme Desk Mess Mirrored, v2.5, from BuyNowShop.com

Never miss a post!

Don't let this happen you you!
Get FREE weekly Newsletter Digest of New Posts

We respect your privacy.