Understanding the Basics of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, or MBCT, is a relatively new therapy approach that combines the principles of cognitive therapy with the practice of mindfulness. It was developed in the late 1990s by psychologists John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Mark Williams as a way to help people with depression to avoid relapse.

The basic idea behind MBCT is that by becoming more aware of our thoughts and emotions, we can learn to observe them without judgment and to respond to them more skillfully. This, in turn, can help us to break free from negative thought patterns and to live more fully in the present moment.

So, how does MBCT work? The therapy typically involves eight weekly sessions, each lasting around two hours. During these sessions, participants are taught a range of mindfulness practices, such as body scanning, mindful breathing, and mindful movement.

Participants are also encouraged to develop a more mindful approach to their daily lives, becoming more aware of their thoughts and emotions as they go about their day. This can involve practices such as keeping a mindfulness journal or taking regular mindfulness breaks throughout the day.

One of the key principles of MBCT is that it is not about trying to eliminate negative thoughts or emotions, but rather about learning to observe them without judgment. This can be challenging at first, as our minds are often quick to judge and criticize ourselves and others. But with practice, we can learn to cultivate a more compassionate and accepting attitude towards ourselves and the world around us.

MBCT has been shown to be effective in treating a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and stress. It has also been found to be helpful in improving sleep quality and reducing chronic pain.

So, if you’re interested in trying MBCT for yourself, where do you start? The first step is to find a qualified therapist who is trained in MBCT. Many therapists now offer MBCT as part of their practice, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone in your area.

Alternatively, there are many online resources and self-help books available that can help you to learn the basics of mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your daily life. Some popular books on MBCT include “The Mindful Way Workbook” by John Teasdale, “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression” by Mark Williams and John Teasdale.

Ultimately, the key to success with MBCT is consistent practice. Like any new skill, it takes time and effort to develop mindfulness as a habit. But with patience and persistence, you can learn to cultivate a more mindful approach to life and to reap the many benefits that come with it.