Self-Compassion Used Within Biofeedback to Treat Veterans

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An article published in the current issue of Biofeedback studies the impact compassion and mindfulness-based biofeedback techniques have on veterans and their ongoing ailments. The study found that incorporating self-compassion as well as compassion for others can lower veterans' physical and emotional pain levels.

Volume 44, Issue 3 (Fall 2016)

By incorporating self-compassion and compassion for others, the researcher was able to deduce how these emotions can be effective in providing the balance that traditional psychotherapeutic techniques could not reach.

Biofeedback – Breaking through the barriers of military culture in order to successfully treat the ailments of veterans has been an ongoing struggle in the United States. The necessary, but often rigid, attitudes and values of military personnel that enable them to be highly effective in stressful combat situations can also hinder their return to civilian life. A recent study found that biofeedback techniques that incorporate self-compassion and the inclusion of a spouse or family member have been successful in re-assimilating veterans.

An article published in the current issue of the journal Biofeedback combines the knowledge of military culture with modern-day science to find a balance for returning veterans. The study primarily focused on a veteran who was being treated for the psychological effects of chronic pain. Both the veteran and his spouse were electronically monitored via sensors for respiration, heart rate, body temperature, and other measures indicative of stress. In addition, they received social support in order to help open their minds to treatment and facilitate recovery. By incorporating self-compassion and compassion for others, the researcher was able to deduce how these emotions can be effective in providing the balance that traditional psychotherapeutic techniques could not reach.

The researcher found that by inviting the veteran to accept his humanness and flaws, contrary to some of his military conditioning and focus on his own internal struggle, he was able to become more mindful of his emotions and of the emotions of his spouse. He was also able to become more comfortable in group settings, control his physical reactions to stress, de-escalate feelings of anger and fear, and lower his physical and emotional pain levels.

The researcher found that incorporating compassion with mindfulness-based biofeedback techniques can be highly beneficial in helping veterans with ongoing ailments. By including spouses in the treatment, this research opens the door for a new way to assist veterans and re-assimilate them to civilian life.

Full text of the article, “Clinical Use of Self-Compassion Within Mindfulness-Based Biofeedback in the Treatment of Veterans and Spouses: A Case Study,” Biofeedback, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2016, is available at http://www.aapb-biofeedback.com/doi/full/10.5298/1081-5937-44.3.08.

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About Biofeedback
Biofeedback is published four times per year and distributed by the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. AAPB’s mission is to advance the development, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge about applied psychophysiology and biofeedback to improve health and quality of life through research, education, and practice. For more information about the Association, see http://www.aapb.org.

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Brooke Winston
Allen Press
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