Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
What is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy combines the principles and techniques of mindfulness practices such as meditation with the modern psychological science of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CTB). The core objective of MBCT is to improve your mental health by increasing your mindfulness.
How was MBCT developed and who created MBCT?
MBCT can be described as being part of the Third Wave of psychological therapy. Originally developed by a group of psychology researchers, Zindel Segal, J.Mark G.Williamsn and John D. Teasdale. MBCT was also to some extent based upon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction developed by Jon Kabat-Zahn in the 1970s.
How does MBCT work?
It’s firstly worth understanding a little about mindfulness. At its core, mindfulness means developing greater acceptance of thoughts and having a greater focus on the present moment. The techniques involved help you to focus on aspects of the present moment such as how your body feels and what you can hear or observe externally. Your attention becomes fully focused on what you are doing at the present moment. Rather than fighting some of the negative feelings, you focus on acceptance and allow them to pass whilst retaining focus on the present moment.
The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) element aims to use techniques and interventions which help you understand how your thoughts and behaviours might be creating troublesome cycles. CBT helps to break this loop of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours which is contributing negatively to your overall mood.
So the combination of both Mindfulness and CBT can provide you with both the techniques and the understanding to improve how your current thoughts and behaviours impact on your mood.
How do you undertake MBCT and what to expect?
MBCT is generally conducted as a formal and structured course. This usually lasts 8 weeks with regular weekly sessions. However, you’ll be asked to take a lot of what you are learning away and practice frequently outside of the course. Naturally, it’s all about getting better at using these techniques by using them daily and making them habits. So you can expect to have plenty of homework!
What can MBCT help with?
MBCT was developed with quite a specific application – to help those likely to experience a relapse of depression. Some people use it as a way to move away from regular antidepressant medication.