You’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation, but what is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)? This therapy uses mindfulness practices like breathing exercises and meditation to help clients break free of negative thought patterns.
What Can MBCT Treat?
MBCT was first developed to prevent individuals 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 three instances of depression. This therapy approach may also help improve the symptoms of depression in those with disease and physical illness, such as cancer and traumatic brain injuries.
How Does Mindfulness Help Depression?
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; they become stuck in mental patterns. They often mistake their introspection 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 meditate. While it’s hard for any person to stop the mental process of rumination completely, it’s our choice whether to engage with it. Meditation helps us “just say no.”
How to Find an MBCT Therapist
MBCT is usually held in group sessions once weekly for 2-hours each. Your therapist will lead the meditations and breathwork. They will show you these techniques and the fundamentals of cognition, such as the relationship between your thoughts and how they make you feel. Your therapist will most likely give you homework to practise the breathing and meditation techniques you’ve learned that week.
An MBCT therapist is a cognitive-behavioural therapist who will have had additional training in mindfulness-based practices and techniques and can teach these to others. Beyond looking for these specific credentials, you’ll also want to find a therapist you feel comfortable working with. After doing some research for qualified therapists in your area, get on the phone and talk to a few to see who you may like working with the best.
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.