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Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is also known as MBCT. It is an offshoot of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. This offshoot was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark William and John Teasdale. The main objective of this process is to help people who are beset by frequent bouts of depression and unhappiness overcome these problems. It seeks to enable a patient suffering from the above-mentioned conditions understand the mental modes that cause them to suffer. Once a patient understands the patterns, they are then in a good stead to come up with new ways of interacting with the challenge they face.

Some of the things that participants learn include the ability to relate with unpleasant sensations on the body. This training plays an important role in people who suffer from chronic physical discomfort. Breathing meditations are also taught as a way of helping participants increase their awareness of what is happening at the moment. In classroom sessions, students are taught on the mechanics of depression and anxiety so that they can consciously arrest a slide into relapse if it occurs.

The relationship between thinking and feeling

Participants are also taught to understand that negative feeling and negative thinking when combined are dangerous and they have the capacity to cause a downward spiral back into depression. To avoid this eventuality, participants are trained on how to delink the two by thinking positively when they are in a bad mood.


While MBCT is widely used for the reduction of symptoms of depression, it has also been proved to help manage cravings. This application is important for people struggling with substance abuse or other bad habits such as gambling. This method helps in the reduction of cravings by strengthening the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is the part that enables a person to differ gratification and therefore exercise self-control.

The program typically takes eight weeks. Owing to its design, it doesn’t require the patient to stay engaged for the entire duration. This means that it can be offered in an outpatient rehab facility. It is normally conducted in groups where a weekly course lasts a maximum of eight hours and a daylong session which normally takes place in the fifth week. Although there is a relatively high amount of time spent in classroom, more time is spent outside with patients being instructed on how to use meditations to cultivate attention on a daily basis.

When participants in this program become mindful on a moment by moment basis. This helps them ensure that when they are beset with thoughts that lead them to destructive habits, they will recognize and avoid them. The movement of the mind from a preprogrammed reaction allows for conscious processing of the thought to ensure that the patient has a conscious choice on how to proceed. This strategy is effective to prevent relapse. This method is applicable for all patients recovering from depression regardless of the treatment they received in the first instance, whether medication or through talk therapy.

Besides people with the above-mentioned problems mindfulness has been found useful by therapists during sessions. It helps them remain detached in the face of highly emotional situations that their patients find themselves in. Other areas in which this program has been used include in the treatment of panic disorder, anxiety disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Empirical Validation

Research conducted among participants who have previously used this method shows that it reduces relapse into depression by 50%. This is when the participants have previously suffered from relapse. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence – UK has recommended this approach as a way of treating people recovering from depression and are in danger of relapse.

The effectiveness of this approach in treating other conditions such as chronic fatigue or pain is also documented. There are also studies that show MBCT as being effective in the treatment of active depression. Its effectiveness is higher than other options where the patient in question has displayed resistance to other types of treatment. There are certain studies that have shown this technique as being effective in treating bipolar disorder.

Although this method of treatment has been found effective in the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, there is a considerable percentage of such patients who display residual symptoms. The fact that this treatment works is also a reinforcement of the scientifically proven fact that have control of one’s mind plays a positive role in healing.

In conclusion, it is evident that this treatment method effectively prevents the possibility for relapse into depression. It is also clear that it could be helpful in dealing with many other chronic problems affecting people. When a patient is going through this program, it is possible for the facilitators to notice those who are more vulnerable to relapses and advise them accordingly.

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