Emotion dysregulation, difficulties managing intense emotions, is common across many psychiatric disorders and is central to some of the most severe and difficult-to-treat populations in psychiatry. To immediately decrease suffering from emotions, individuals with emotion dysregulation often rely on destructive behaviors, including substance use and violence. Mindfulness may help prevent these problems, as it effectively reduces emotional distress and improves a range of mental health outcomes. However, it is often extremely difficult for psychiatric patients to learn mindfulness in a clinic or training setting and then apply it within their everyday lives. To overcome this challenge, we will use an established paradigm of generalizing emotion regulation skills, developed by our NIMH-funded program. In the present application, we propose to combine mindfulness training with this innovative method of extending the benefits of emotion regulation interventions into patients’ real-life environments. This novel intervention will teach patients how to use mindfulness in emotionally challenging situations inside the clinic, and then remind them to practice these skills at home with mobile phone reminders. Thus, this project will lay the foundation for innovative transdiagnostic interventions that integrate insights from contemplative traditions and rigorous modern science.

Kibby McMahon

Duke University


Kibby McMahon is currently in her fourth year in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Duke University, supervised by Dr. Zachary Rosenthal. Her primary interests are developing and testing mindfulness based interventions … MORE