What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a type of psychotherapy that involves a combination of cognitive therapy, meditation, and the cultivation of a present-oriented, non-judgmental attitude called "mindfulness."1
MBCT was developed by therapists Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale, who sought to build upon cognitive therapy. They felt that by integrating cognitive therapy with a program developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), therapy could be more effective.1
How does MBCT work?
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy builds upon the principles of cognitive therapy by using techniques such as mindfulness meditation to teach people to consciously pay attention to their thoughts and feelings without placing any judgments upon them.2 There are several mindfulness techniques and exercises that are utilized as a part of MBCT. Some of these include:
People might be taught what's known as the "three minute breathing space technique," which focuses on three steps, each one minute in duration:
Other MBCT techniques include walking and sitting meditations, sitting with thoughts, and sitting with sounds.
What Can MBCT Help With?
Research suggests that MBCT can be effective for helping individuals who have experienced multiple episodes of depression. While it was originally developed to treat depression, it has also been shown to be effective for other uses including: