UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Psychology | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Preventive Medicine | Psychiatry and Psychology


Buddhist‐derived and Western psychological approaches to clinical mindfulness appear to vary in their understandings of the construct, even as training in each results in improvements in well‐being. I describe the similarities and differences in these approaches that lead to misunderstandings in the clinical literature, including the often unstated personal commitment some clinicians and researchers have in the Buddhist system and view of meditation practice. All the programs ask participants to attend to their experience in particular ways, however, and the more general and clinically profitable question is what, if any, are the therapeutic properties they have in common. This question can be approached by examining the instructions participants are asked to follow in the trainings and in their everyday lives. Patients of different temperaments and backgrounds will find one approach more attractive than another. By delineating the qualities of attending the programs share and considering the ways each approach can complement the other and patients will be better served. This approach can also result in a better understanding of processes common across other mind–body training programs.


Buddhist principles, clinical mindfulness programs, Eastern mindfulness, mind‐body training, well‐being, Western approaches

Rights and Permissions

This is the author's accepted manuscript from: Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness. Chapter 3. Amanda Le, Christelle T. Ngnoumen, and Ellen J. Langer. (Eds.). 2014. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. Reprinted with permission of Wiley.

DOI of Published Version



Carmody, J. (2014). Eastern and Western Approaches to Mindfulness: Similarities, Differences, and Clinical Implications. In The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness (eds A. Ie, C. T. Ngnoumen and E. J. Langer). Chapter 3, p. 48-57. Link to book on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness