Research on The Work of Byron Katie

There is currently a growing body of research being undertaken examining the effects of

The Work of Byron Katie

(IBSR: Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction)

“Current depression treatments have limited efficacy and come with many side effects. Our ongoing research suggests that The Work of Byron Katie is much more powerful. Depression affects over 300 million individuals worldwide.

Stanford Medicine

Research Papers on The Work of Byron Katie (IBSR):

1. The Effects of the Work on Psychological Symptoms & Quality of Life



“The Work” is a meditative technique that enables the identification and investigation of thoughts that cause an individual stress and suffering. Its core is comprised of four questions and turnarounds that enable the participant to experience a different interpretation of reality. We assessed the effect of “The Work” meditation on quality of life and psychological symptoms in a non-clinical sample.


The promising results of this pilot study warrant randomized clinical trials to validate “The Work” meditation technique as an effective intervention for improvement in psychological state and quality of life in the general population.

2. The effects of Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) on mental health and well-being among a non-clinical sample.


Mental problems are highly common among the general population. Mind-body interventions were found to be highly effective in treating them. The current study assessed the effect of Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) meditation on psychological parameters in a general population sample.

3. The effects of “The Work” meditation technique on psychological scales among a non-clinical sample.


“The Work” is a meditative technique developed by Byron Katie in 1986 and is practiced by hundreds of thousands of people in more than 30 countries. The technique trains individuals to identify the thoughts that cause stress and suffering in a systematic and comprehensive way and to meditatively “investigate” these thoughts, thus enabling them to experience a different interpretation of reality.


The current pilot study shows the potentially beneficial effects of “The Work” technique as a method of intervention for improving results on psychological scales and promoting mental health among the general population. Future randomized controlled studies should examine the effectiveness of “The Work” intervention in this population.

4. The Work of Byron Katie – A New Psychotherapy?

While Byron Katie has introduced this therapeutic process to hundreds of thousands around the world in the past 20 years, it has made few inroads into the field of psychotherapy even though many mental health practitioners have experienced the value of this process and have incorporated it into their practices. It is our hope that this paper will more broadly introduce “The Work”, and stimulate interest in researching this simple, effective process. 

5. Exploring IBSR as a Counselling Intervention


Utilising mindfulness-based approaches and techniques within counselling has become increasingly popular with mental health professionals. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can have positive implications for both clients and therapists. Relatively new to the field of counselling is a meditational, mindfulness based approach known as Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR). This qualitative study explored therapists’ experience of using IBSR both personally and in their clinical practice.

6. Reduction of Chronic Stress and Trait Anxiety by Inquiry of Cognitive Appraisals with the Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) Method

Received May 15, 2018; accepted February 11, 2019

Open Psychology | Volume 1: Issue 1

Reduction of Chronic Stress and Trait Anxiety by Inquiry of Cognitive Appraisals with the Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) Method

Ann 1  and Oliver Dickhäuser 2

  • 1 University of Mannheim, , Mannheim, Germany 
  • 2 University of Mannheim, , Mannheim, Germany

DOI: | Published online: 01 Apr 2019PDF


Background: Chronic stress and anxiety can impair individuals’ health. Appraisal theories assume that stress and anxiety are experienced if individuals appraise a situation as threatening for their well-being. Thus, the modification of cognitive appraisals can be expected to reduce stress and anxiety. A potentially effective method to modify individuals’ appraisals is inquiry-based stress reduction (IBSR; Mitchell & Mitchell, 2003).

Aims: The present study assesses the effects of IBSR on chronic stress and trait anxiety in comparison to a matched control group.

Method: We used a quasi-experimental repeated-measurement design and a non-clinical sample of N = 199. Participants’ chronic stress and anxiety levels were assessed before and three months after a nine-day IBSR training. To account for the consequences of missing randomization, propensity score matching was applied.

Results: As expected, data analyses revealed that in the IBSR training group chronic stress and trait anxiety statistically significantly decreased over the course of three months whereas in the matched control group, the levels of chronic stress and trait anxiety did not statistically significantly change.

Conclusions: IBSR seems to effectively reduce trait anxiety and chronic stress in a non-clinical sample.