MBCT: Combining Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavior Therapy

MBCT: Combining Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a groundbreaking therapeutic approach that blends the self-awareness principles of mindfulness with the practical solutions of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This article explores how MBCT can be a powerful tool for individuals looking to manage depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

MBCT is a form of therapy designed to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of MBCT lies in acquainting patients with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while teaching them how to develop a new relationship to these modes.

The Benefits of MBCT

Research has shown that MBCT is highly effective in preventing relapse in people who have had three or more episodes of depression. It also offers benefits for individuals dealing with anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions. By promoting awareness and acceptance, MBCT helps break the cycle of negative thought patterns that can trigger a relapse into depression or anxiety.

  • Reduces the risk of depressive relapse
  • Improves regulation of emotions
  • Enhances flexibility in thinking
  • Develops resilience against stress

How Does MBCT Work?

MBCT works by changing the way individuals perceive and relate to their thoughts and feelings. Through mindfulness exercises, patients learn to focus on the present moment in a non-judgmental way. Over time, this practice can reshape cognitive processes, making it easier to manage potential triggers for depression and anxiety.

Incorporating MBCT into Your Life

Integrating MBCT into one’s life typically involves an 8-week structured program that includes mindfulness practices, group discussions, and cognitive behavioral exercises. Participants are also encouraged to practice mindfulness daily to solidify the skills they learn.


Is MBCT different from traditional CBT?

Yes, while they share common principles, MBCT emphasizes mindfulness practices as a way to change the relationship to thoughts and feelings, whereas traditional CBT focuses more directly on changing thought patterns and behaviors.

Can MBCT be practiced without a therapist?

While it’s possible to practice mindfulness on one’s own, MBCT as a structured therapy should be facilitated by a trained professional to ensure the best outcomes.

Is MBCT suitable for everyone?

MBCT can be beneficial for many, but it may not be suitable for those currently experiencing severe depression or other serious mental health issues. Consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended.

How long until I see the benefits of MBCT?

The benefits of MBCT can be felt in as little as 8 weeks, with continued practice leading to ongoing improvements.

Can MBCT help with other conditions besides depression?

Yes, MBCT has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain.