What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)? article 13/13 (Ellie)

Young woman sitting on couch at home meditating

What is MBCT?

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy or MBCT, for short, is a type of psychotherapy that involves a combination of cognitive therapy, meditation, and the cultivation of a present-oriented, non-judgmental attitude called “mindfulness.”

One of the greatest contributors to this practice is John Kabat-Zinn, who felt mindfulness would be a more efficient and effective way of therapy.

A primary assumption of cognitive therapy is that thoughts precede moods and that false self-beliefs lead to negative emotions such as depression. The goal of cognitive therapy is to help you recognize and reassess your patterns of negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts that more closely reflect reality

Schimelpfening, Nancy. “How Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Works.” Verywell Mind, Stephan Gans, 25 Nov. 2020, http://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy-1067396. p 1

Much like with cognitive therapy, MBCT operates on the theory that if you have a history of depression and become distressed, you are likely to return to those automatic cognitive processes that triggered a depressive episode in the past.

MBCT and Depression

When it comes to patients with chronic depression, the main goal in practicing MBCT is to avoid relapses by not engaging in certain thought patters and feelings that perpetuate and worsen depression.

a study published in The Lancet found that MBCT helped prevent depression recurrence as effectively as maintenance antidepressant medication did.

Some skills used in MBCT

  • Doing what works rather than second-guessing yourself
  • Focusing on the moment without distraction from other ideas or events
  • Participating without being self-conscious
  • Paying close attention to what is going on around you
  • Taking a non-judgmental stance

With proper instruction and guidance you can learn to take your thoughts captive as well as learn to identify and understand how you’re feeling.

Schimelpfening, Nancy. “How Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Works.” Verywell Mind, 25 Nov. 2020, http://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy-1067396.

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