Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) incorporating Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) is the most efficacious treatment intervention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); however, there is a growing literature indicating that mindfulness based approaches can be beneficial in terms of managing OCD symptoms. The current study examined the potential benefits of using a consumer grade EEG-based biofeedback device (called “Muse”) that permits individuals to engage in mindfulness meditation practices while at home. In this randomized controlled study, participants with a principal DSM-5 diagnosis of OCD (N = 71) were randomly assigned to eight weeks of: 1) a meditation program involving daily use of the “Muse” device, or 2) waitlist control. At weeks 1, 4, and 8, participants completed a five minute “open monitoring” practice while EEG data was recorded, and they completed self-report measures of mindfulness (FFMQ: Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire) and OCD symptoms (YBOCS: Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale). Latent Difference Score (LDS) models demonstrated that the FFMQ “Non-Reactivity” facet and EEG-derived correlates of “Mind Wandering” (i.e., alpha, beta, but not delta or theta band power) were temporally associated with subsequent changes in YBOCS symptom scores. Participants in the Muse group (in comparison to the control group) experienced increased FFMQ “Non-Reactivity” and decreased mind wandering (increased alpha and beta band power), and in each case, these variables were associated with subsequent OCD symptom improvement. These results suggest that technology supported mindfulness training for OCD is associated with improvements in OCD symptoms, mindfulness and decreased mind wandering.
Hawley, L. L., Rector, N. A., DaSilva, A., Laposa, J. M., & Richter, M. A. (2021). Technology supported mindfulness for obsessive compulsive disorder: Self-reported mindfulness and EEG correlates of mind wandering. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 136. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2020.103757