‘Minding the gap’: developing mindfulness for adoption

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Abstract

This article discusses the rationale for mindfulness as an intervention in addressing parenting stress in adoptive parents and describes the process of its implementation in a voluntary adoption agency. Burgeoning interest in mindfulness in the public and scientific domains, alongside the presenting needs of adoptive families, has led to an appreciation of this intervention to meet the particular needs of adoptive parents and their children. The theoretical and research grounds for it are outlined before a description of the service is provided and supplemented with data from staff and parent groups receiving Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). In the manner of ‘practice what you preach’, staff as well as adoptive parents participated in the training. Adoptive parents demonstrated improvements in mindfulness and compassion; staff showed positive changes in self-compassion. There were also improvements in parenting stress for adopters. These results suggest this was a promising intervention for both the families and the agency and indicate an ongoing commitment to using it alongside other treatments. Further pointers to future service delivery, implementation and research are outlined.

Ben Gurney-Smith is a Chartered Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Lead for the Therapy Service, Adoptionplus, Newport Pagnell, UK.

Patricia Downing is a mindfulness practitioner.

Katherine Kidd is an assistant psychologist for the same service.

Rebecca L McMillin is an assistant psychologist with West London Mental Health NHS Trust, UK.

Access online: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0308575917702829

© SAGE and CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy, 2017

Details

In: Adoption & Fostering
Vol:41 Issue:2

DOI: 10.1177/0308575917702829

Publisher: SAGE, CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy (Aug 2017)

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