Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
Reversing the downward spiral
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a psychological therapy which blends mindfulness techniques with features of cognitive therapy.
MBCT was founded by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale of University of Oxford Dept. of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.
Learning how to step out of automatic reactions to thoughts and feelings
The purpose of MBCT is to develop a "freedom from the tendency to get drawn into automatic reactions to thoughts, feelings, and events".
It involves accepting thoughts and feelings without judgement rather than trying to push them out of consciousness, with a goal of correcting cognitive distortions.
The basis of MBCT
When we are vulnerable to depression, we lose touch with what is going on around us, and tend to develop "tunnel vision". Very specifically and critically - we do not notice the moment when a spiral of low mood is starting.
Mindfulness practice helps us to see more clearly the patterns of the mind; and to learn how recognise when our mood is beginning to go down. This means we can ‘nip it in the bud’ much earlier than before.
Mindfulness pracise teaches us a way in which we can get back in touch with the experience of being alive.
Shifting mental gears and halting the escalation of negative thoughts
Mindfulness helps to halt the escalation of negative thoughts and teaches us to focus on the present moment, rather than reliving the past or pre-living the future.
Mindfulness teaches us to shift our "mental gears, from the mode of mind dominated by critical thinking (likely to provoke and accelerate downward mood spirals) to another mode of mind in which we experience the world directly, non-conceptually, and non-judgementally.
MBCT at University of Oxford Dept of Psychiatry
Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University
Additional meditation resources on this site
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Thich Nhat Hanh
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