You’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation, but what exactly is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)? This form of therapy uses mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises and meditation to help clients break free from negative thought patterns.
What can MBCT treat?
MBCT was first developed to prevent people struggling with repeated episodes of depression and anxiety from relapsing. Studies have shown that MBCT is very effective in helping people with major depressive disorder who have experienced at least three cases of depression in their lifetime. This approach to therapy can also be helpful in improving symptoms of depression in people with illnesses and physical illnesses such as cancer and traumatic brain injuries.
How does mindfulness help with depression?
You may think that meditation is something only monks or yoga masters do, but everyday people reap the most important body and mind benefits from mindfulness meditation. Depressed people suffer from rumination, that is, they get stuck in mental patterns. They often mistake their rumination for problem solving, but the reality is that rumination prolongs a negative state of mind.
Meditation works by disrupting the mental process of rumination. If you focus your mental attention on the present moment, you will not be able to ruminate. While it is difficult for any human being to completely stop the mental process of rumination, it is our choice whether or not to engage with it. Meditation helps us “just say no”.
How to Find an MBCT Therapist
MBCT is usually held in group sessions for 2 hours once a week. The meditations and breathing work are led by your therapist. He or she will guide you not only in these techniques, but also in the basics of knowledge, such as the relationship between your thoughts and how they make you feel. Your therapist will most likely also do homework for you to practice the breathing and meditation techniques you learned during this week.
An MBCT therapist is a cognitive behavioral therapist who has received additional training in mindfulness-based practices and techniques and who can teach them to others. In addition to finding those specific credentials, you’ll also want to find a therapist that you would be happy to work with. After doing a little bit of researching for qualified therapists in your area, call and speak to a few to find out who you would most like to work with.
If you or someone you know is interested in exploring MBCT, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to discuss how we can help you.