In collaboration with the Department of Clinical Psychology, the Semmelweis Mindfulness Center organized the Hungarian Scientific Mindfulness Conference for the second time. The title of this year’s event was “Mindfulness in a Frantic World”. About 850 participants – mostly doctors, psychologists and other healthcare professionals – joined the full-day conference on 17 March 2023, which was also attended by well-known and respected professionals. The main guest of the conference was Dr. Mark Williams, Professor at Oxford University, founder and president of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a very interesting, surprisingly effective new area of the third wave of cognitive therapies. ’Mindfulness’ is a special state of attention that focuses on the present, increases awareness of mental processes, and suggests curious observation and acceptance of thoughts. Its main message is that the negative thoughts that appear in depression, anxiety and stressful situations are simply automatic thoughts that may or may not be true. There is clear evidence now that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is as effective in preventing relapses in major recurrent depression as pharmacotherapy. MBCT is also used in distinct areas such as obesity, self-esteem disorders, chronic pain or attention deficit disorder.

The conference was opened by Dr. Dóra Perczel-Forintos, Professor, Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology, then Professor Dr. Mark Williams presented his latest research in a highly successful lecture titled ” Mindfulness in a Frantic World”. His presentation was received with great interest and he also involved the audience through practical examples. Following that, participants were introduced to the healing role of mindfulness in a wide range of areas. Dr. Csaba M. Bánki, a well-known professor of biological psychiatry, gave a highly successful lecture on a relevant topic, the beneficial effects of mindfulness for the elderly. Research shows that daily meditation in older age greatly reduces the risk of developing dementia. As an example, he said that a 60-year-old person who meditates daily has the mental flexibility of a 50-year-old.

The next really important topic was chronic headaches. Chronic headache and migraine are the second most common diseases among the Hungarian population. According to the research of Professor Dóra Perczel-Forintos, mindfulness meditation reduces the frequency of headaches and relieves depression, thus greatly improving the quality of life for patients. Emotional regulation disorders in childhood and adolescence (low frustration tolerance, attention deficit disorder, anger outbursts) are becoming increasingly common today. From the presentation on this topic, it became clear that mindfulness can also bring breakthroughs in the treatment of these problems, as discussed by the child psychologists of the Vadaskert Foundation for Children’s Mental Health. Alongside the lectures there were guided meditations by experienced mindfulness teachers.

By organizing the 2nd Hungarian Scientific Mindfulness Conference, the Department of Clinical Psychology of Semmelweis University aimed to make people in the frantic world of recent years more aware of scientifically proven mindfulness-based therapies that can help them find balance in their lives, become more accepting of themselves and others, and make peace with reality.

Department of Clinical Psychology
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