Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) combines cognitive behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies in order to help individuals better understand and manage their thoughts and emotions in order to achieve relief from feelings of distress.
Though originally developed to address recurrent depression, MBCT may be beneficial to people seeking treatment for a wide range of mental health concerns.
HOW DOES MBCT WORK?
In this therapy approach, people can learn how to use cognitive methods and mindfulness meditation to interrupt the automatic processes often triggering depression. Low mood, negative thoughts, and certain body sensations such as weariness and sluggishness often occur together during an episode of depression. Even after the episode passes, connections may still exist between the different symptoms, and it is possible for a small negative stimulus to trigger a large downward spiral: Researchers have found when people with a history of depression experience a low mood, they may also experience negative memories and thoughts from the past, which may, in turn, lead to worry about the future and physical sensations such as fatigue.
MBCT helps participants learn how to recognize their sense of being and see themselves as separate from their thoughts and moods. This disconnect can allow people to become liberated from thought patterns in which the same negative messages may be replayed over and over. After developing an awareness of the separation between thoughts, emotions, and the self, people in treatment may find that while the self and the emotions may exist simultaneously, they do not have to exist within the same dimension. This insight can contribute to healing by helping individuals learn to interject positive thoughts into negative moods in order to disarm those negative moods.
In general, MBCT attempts to give participants the necessary tools to combat depressive symptoms as they arise. People who learn these skills may then be able to revert to these methods in times of distress or when faced with potentially overwhelming situations.