Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) takes the proven method of examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviours, that make cognitive therapy so effective, and adds another element: mindfulness.
It combines these two approaches to help you train your mind to be with thoughts and feelings in a manner that increases peace of mind and personal well being.
MBCT was originally designed to help prevent recurring bouts of depression. However, it can also be helpful with other conditions.
Mindfulness means intentionally and consciously paying keen attention to the present moment without letting judgement get in the way. This increases our acceptance and awareness of our present reality.
The idea of being mindful might sound really abstract, but it’s actually a simple concept. One way to wrap your mind around it is to use a driving analogy. When you are driving on autopilot, you are going through the motions of driving without putting much thought into it. You aren’t likely to notice the little things that pop up along the way, and your mind wanders easily.
In our daily lives, many of us are cruising through on autopilot rather than being more present in the moment. Mindfulness helps us tune into our present feelings and thoughts and makes us less susceptible to falling into the mental ruts that lead to depressive or anxious thoughts. It’s a valuable skill that can also bring more clarity to your thinking, which enables you to focus and achieve your goals with less stress and more ease and inner contentment.
Examples of Mindfulness:
Whilst the above practices can easily sound simplistic or even futile in their nature, their purpose is to help you discover how to train your mind in the art of being present. This practice, over time, enables you to avoid the pitfalls of negative thinking which can lead to stress, depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is typically carried out through either individual therapy sessions or more commonly in 8 week courses. You are taught in groups the practice of meditation and thought management. There is also a homework component that involves meditating and practicing the techniques learned. Many people report a noticeable improvement after around eight weeks of this type of therapy.
We have clinics at the following locations:
This page was written by Maggie Morrow (MSc, BSc, Adv Dip, UKCP) and medically reviewed in November 2020.