Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: what is it and what is it for?

Mindfulness is considered third-generation psychological therapy, And one of the most well-known programs is the MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction program) or Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program, considered to be one of the most effective treatments for treating stress.

But in recent years, another mindfulness-based program has gained popularity in the treatment of various disorders, such as depression or anxiety. These are either MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy.

Mindfulness is not about doing, it’s about being

In fact, the practice of mindfulness, rather than a set of techniques for being in the present moment, it’s an attitude towards life. You could say that mindfulness allows you to acquire a series of healthy habits, is a coping style that promotes personal strengths in everyone and helps to adapt to the modern world, as it promotes the well-being of people. individuals in a society. which tends to undermine the authentic identity of people and helps to connect with oneself.

To acquire the Mindfulness mentality, it is necessary to carry out training. Mindfulness training consists of a series of exercises that allow you to pay attention to it without passing judgment. However, it is not a question of doing, but of being. In other words, it is being with the five senses without evaluating the internal or external experience.

Mindfulness is a state of self-regulation of one’s own attention, so that one’s will becomes essential to one’s practice. Curiosity, openness and acceptance are part of awareness.

The applications of mindfulness

Mindfulness has been found to be useful in dealing with a variety of phenomena, including:

  • emotional issues
  • Stress
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders

  • Mood disorders: depression, bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder

  • Somatic problems: psoriasis, fibromyalgia and chronic pain

On the other hand, mindfulness exercises are simple to perform, so it is relatively easy to adapt the procedures to be followed for any type of person.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: what is it?

There are different mindfulness programs. One of them is the MBCT of Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale, who was originally developed as an emotional stress and anxiety treatment program, And as a relapse prevention program in patients with depression.

The program combines mindfulness meditation with the acquisition of practical skills that characterize cognitive therapy, such as the disruption of thought patterns that lead to depressive or anxious states.

The program lasts eight weeks

Several studies have been carried out to test the effectiveness of this treatment. The results show that the vast majority of people who use this program improve their quality of life and experience less depression, anxiety and emotional stress.

To benefit from the benefits of this treatment, daily meditation practice is recommended for at least eight weeks. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy includes a body scan, mindfulness stretches, yoga exercises, mindful breathing, and other practical mindfulness exercises.

How Does Mindfulness Affect Depression?

The different exercises offered by the Cognitive Therapy program based on Mindfulness they change the way the patient thinks and interprets facts. Advantages are:

  • It helps to focus on the here and now
  • Improves concentration
  • Less ruminating thoughts of the patient
  • Stay away from harmful thoughts
  • Greater compassion for oneself and greater affection for oneself
  • better self-knowledge

Mindfulness: reconnect with yourself

Self-compassion is one of the basic pillars of mindfulness, and it involves being warm and compassionate to yourself. It refers to accepting the way we are and the thoughts and emotions that flow from ourselves without judging or criticizing them.

Mindfulness is useful in today’s context because it re-educates you. We live immersed in a culture and a society in which capitalist and consumer values ​​triumph: money or images are more valuable than human beings themselves. In this environment, everything has a price, whether it is dignity, self-love, pride or honor, everything becomes a commodity, even interpersonal relationships. Mindfulness helps to find oneself, away from the influence and pressure of this society which seriously alters the emotional balance.

Mindfulness applied to therapy: double effect

This type of therapy takes advantage of the beneficial effect of Minfulness and applies it to situations where stress and anxiety play a very important role. It should be noted that high levels of stress have a chain effect on both the nervous system and hormone regulation, so curbing this state of constant alertness relieves many of the symptoms that patients surrender to.

On another side, Mindfulness also has a beneficial effect on emotional regulation, Which has a positive impact on many aspects of the quality of life. This allows us to take a slightly more distant and neutral perspective, so that we are more likely to approach our problems with a constructive frame of mind and without being dragged down by anxiety and obsessive worry about what we are doing. could have done and not.

In addition, the improvement of the emotional aspect allows a greater use of the therapy, which unfortunately not all patients achieve, a phenomenon which is partly explained by the fact that some people abandon their treatments. undergo.

In this way, Minfulness has a double effect: the quality of life is improved directly, and it is easier for the treatment to be followed.

Bibliographical references:

  • Felder, JN; Dimidjian, S .; Segal, Z. (2012). Collaboration in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology 68 (2): pages 179 – 186.
  • Parsons, CE; Crane, C .; Parsons, LJ; Fjorback, LO; Kuyken, W. (2017). Home practice in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of participants’ mindfulness practice and its association with outcomes. Behavioral Research and Therapy, 95: pages 29 to 41.
  • Piet, J .; Hougaard, E. (2011). The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for relapse prevention in recurrent major depressive disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of clinical psychology. 31 (6): pages 1032 to 1040.
  • Kuyken, W .; Watkins, E .; Holden, E .; White, K .; Taylor, RS; Byford, S .; Evans, A .; Radford, S .; Teasdale, JD (2010). How Does Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Work? Behavioral Research and Therapy, 48 (11): pages 1105-1112.

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