What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a blend of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with strategies and principles of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. It is intended to help individuals understand and manage their thoughts and emotions, especially negative or distressing thoughts and emotions.
In MBCT, cognitive behavioural techniques are used to inform individuals about the links between their emotions, their thoughts and their behaviour. Cognitive strategies are used to challenge and rationalize individual thinking, while behavioural strategies are used to change unhelpful and harmful behaviour and replace it with healthier alternatives.
Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation helps create awareness of all thoughts and feelings and learning how to accept them. Mindfulness meditation facilitates in the release of self-criticism, rumination and low mood, by focusing on the practice of accepting and observing, without judgement.
How long is the duration of therapy?
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, in its original form consist of group sessions of 8 weeks; however, it can be done in one-to-one sessions as well, over a duration of 8-12 weeks.
How does MBCT help?
MBCT helps create self-awareness and create distance from the low mood, or negative thinking, or certain physical sensations. Developing an attitude of non-judgement and observation, helps interrupt the processes that triggers depression or anxiety.
The cognitive and behavioural elements of MBCT can help in the process of identifying common cognitive biases and learning how to challenge and rationalize negative thoughts to be more realistic and balanced, along with learning behavioural techniques to manage their thoughts and emotions. MBCT can help by teaching individuals how to create and sustain healthier coping tools and strategies.
Additionally, mindfulness and mindful meditation are techniques through which individuals can learn to de-stress, relax, calm themselves, and develop better emotional control.
How is MBCT different from other talking therapies?
Similar to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), MBCT is structured and focused on changing the reaction to stress and low mood.
In MBCT the focus is on educating individuals on the tools and practices of mindfulness and cognitive restructuring. The focus is on change due to acceptance and letting go.
MBCT focuses on teaching individuals to be in the ‘mode’ of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’, which offers long-lasting emotional change.
Which mental health issues does MBCT help with?
Getting the most out of MBCT
Be open and honest. Your therapist can only help with issues you choose to be open about.
Regularly practice the skills taught in sessions. The success of therapy is dependent on your practice of the skills taught and given as homework.
Do not expect instant results. Mindfulness is about setting up a long-term practice with long-term rewards.