What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation, but what exactly is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)? This form of therapy uses mindfulness practices like breathing exercises and meditation to help clients break free of negative thought patterns by relaxing and calming the mind and body.
MBCT was first developed to prevent individuals who were struggling with repeating episodes of depression and anxiety from relapsing. Studies have found MBCT to be very effective at helping people with major depressive disorder who have experienced at least 3 instances of depression in their life. This therapy approach may also be helpful in improving the symptoms of depression in those with disease and physical illness, such as cancer and traumatic brain injuries.
How Does Mindfulness Help With Problems such as Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction and Stress?
You may think that meditation is something only monks or yoga masters do, but everyday people are reaping the major mind and body benefits through mindfulness meditation. Depressed people suffer rumination, that is they become stuck in mental patterns. They often mistake their rumination for problem-solving, but in reality, rumination prolongs a negative mental state.
Meditation works by disrupting the mental process of rumination. When you focus your mental attention on the present moment, you cannot ruminate. While it’s hard for any person to completely stop the mental process of rumination, it’s our choice whether or not we engage with it.
In addition mindfulness based practices can help with anxiety or fears by calming and relaxing the mind and body combined with an attitude of acceptance, openness and curiosity.
For stress mindfulness can help us respond to stress reflectively rather than reflexively, or respond rather than react. When we react we attempt to alter the intensity of undesirable or unwanted internal experience which is a maladaptive strategy. Research has shown these maladaptive strategies contribute to the onset of most emotional disorders.
Meditation helps us to change the focus of our attention.
As your therapist I can lead you through a meditation. I will not only lead you in these techniques but also the fundamentals of cognition, such as the relationship between your thoughts and how they make you feel. I will also most likely give you homework to practice breathing and meditation techniques.
There are some excellent books, listed below to explore how meditation and mindfulness can help you in everyday life.
Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart
John Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living
Mark Epstein, Everyday Trauma
I have had years of specialized training in mindfulness-based practices and techniques and am able to teach these practices.
If you or someone you know may be interested in exploring MBCT, please reach out to me. I’d be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.