Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a form of MBSR designed specifically to prevent people experiencing recurring depression. The 8 week programme offers a set of simple and effective self-management strategies that you can use to become more aware of the early warning signs of depression and deal with them effectively. It also includes basic education about depression and anxiety, and several exercises from cognitive therapy that show the links between thinking and feeling and how best to look after yourself when low mood or worry threatens to overwhelm you. MBCT includes simple breathing meditations and yoga stretches to help you become more aware of the present moment, including getting in touch with moment-to-moment changes in the mind and the body. For further information about MBCT, CLICK HERE.
Does MBCT Work?
Research has shown that when people who have experienced several episodes of depression take an MBCT course, they are much less likely to relapse after the course. The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently endorsed MBCT as an effective treatment for the prevention of relapse into depression. Julie Myserson, writer with the Guardian tells how an MBCT course helped her cope with anxiety in this article. The UK Mental Health Foundation is currently running a mindfulness campaign and mindfulness is attracting widespread media coverage:
How does it work?
MBCT helps you to see the patterns of your mind more clearly and to learn how to recognise when your thoughts are unhelpful and your mood is adversely affected. It helps break the link between negative mood and the negative thinking that could lead to a relapse. Over the course of the 8 week programme, you develop the capacity to mindfully disengage from distressed mood and disentangle yourself from anxious thinking. You gradually learn to stay connected with the present moment, rather than ruminating about the past, or agonising about the future.
Just as training your body takes time and effort, so training the mind also takes motivation and commitment. You will be putting in a lot of time and effort since you will be working to change well-established habits of mind. To benefit from MBCT you will need to be willing to do homework between class meetings. This homework will take up to an hour a day, 6 days a week, for 8 weeks, and involves tasks such as doing the body scan and sitting meditation at home with the aid of CDs. The effects of this effort may only become apparent with time.
What Is the Difference Between MBSR & MBCT?
The approaches are also very similar and are a part of a growing field called Mindfulness Based Approaches. MBSR was developed to support anyone who wanted to be able to handle the stress in their lives better. In MBCT there are additions that respond to the difficulties encountered by people struggling with anxiety and depression. The courses taught here are a blend of MBSR and MBCT.