All About Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)


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When it comes to overcoming an addiction, each patient is truly unique. This makes it vital to find a treatment option that will work for them based on their own life circumstances. For this reason, our team at Magnolia Ranch Recovery offers multiple treatment options to help patients obtain sobriety and maintain it long-term. One of the most promising therapy options that we offer is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). This therapy is extremely beneficial for several reasons.

What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

 Also known as MBCT, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that combines various techniques into one to cultivate a focus on the present times and a non-judgemental attitude known as mindfulness. This therapy uses both meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals recognize their thoughts and feelings in a conscious manner without forming any judgments. 

The combination of both cognitive therapy and mindfulness helps individuals observe their feelings, thoughts, and actions and identify them. This allows individuals to work through their feelings in a healthy way.

When Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Used?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was originally developed as a method for treating individuals who struggle with multiple episodes of depression. However, it is extremely effective in addressing various other conditions and circumstances as well. Some of the issues that MBCT can help with include:

  • Depression that is treatment-resistant
  • Low mood
  • Unhappiness 
  • Depression caused by medical illness
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression-relapse prevention

Due to the fact that many people who struggle with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder, this treatment is extremely effective in helping to address the root causes of addiction and helping individuals develop healthier lifestyles that can help them resist urges and maintain their sobriety. 

What Techniques Are Involved in MBCT?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a combination of several holistic therapy options and traditional treatment options. This comprehensive treatment therapy works by helping individuals develop multiple healthy habits at one time. Some of the techniques used in MBCT include:

  • Yoga: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy strongly encourages individuals to practice various yoga poses. This can help facilitate mindful stretching and relaxation. 
  • Mindfulness stretching: This type of therapy involves stretching in a mindful manner. It aims to bring full awareness to both the mind and the body.
  • Mindfulness practices: Practices of mindfulness focus on increasing awareness of the current moment. These practices can be incorporated into meditation and various other activities that individuals engage in throughout the day.
  • Body scan exercise: These exercises involve lying down flat and drawing awareness and attention to various parts of the body. Individuals typically begin by focusing on their toes and moving up toward their heads.
  • Meditation: Individuals are able to practice either guided meditation or self-directed meditation. This helps patients gain more awareness of their own thoughts, breathing, and body.

In addition, individuals are often taught a technique often referred to as the “three-minute breathing space.” This practice encourages patients to focus deeply on three different steps, each lasting one minute.

During the first minute, patients will observe their experiences by focusing on how they are doing at the present time. Patients will focus on their thoughts and feelings and the sensations that arise within their bodies as they experience their thoughts. During the second minute, patients will focus on their breathing while remaining aware. During the third minute, patients will tend to their bodies and any physical sensations they experience. They will make the connection between how the physical sensations they experience affect their body as a whole.

How Exactly Does MBCT Work?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy uses various benefits of mindfulness to improve the mental health of patients. It helps patients:

  • Discover patterns within their own mood and thoughts
  • Learn how to truly be present and appreciate some of the smallest pleasures found in their everyday lives
  • Learn how to stop the constant downward spiral that often emerges from negative thoughts and thinking patterns surrounding negative memories
  • Shift their mind from its present state to a more balanced, more aware, and less judgemental mindset
  • Access additional ways to deal with challenging moods and emotions

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helps patients better understand what depression is and what is causing their negative thoughts. It helps them discover their vulnerabilities and see the connection between their downward spirals and the negative thoughts they have. Finally, this therapy helps patients realize when they are setting unrealistically high standards that cause them not to feel good enough. 

Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy offers an array of benefits to patients. One of the most notable benefits is the change in mood. Patients are able to learn techniques of mindfulness and relaxation that improve their ability to make rational decisions. They are able to overcome feelings of self-doubt and other negative emotions, like depression. Utilizing various components of cognitive therapy can help individuals recognize their negative thoughts and reassess them in order to replace them with thoughts that are more positive, and that better reflect reality and their current life decisions. 

Overall, this approach helps patients thoroughly consider their deepest thoughts without allowing them to occupy their minds in a negative way. They learn how to overlook what could have been or what may occur in the future by focusing on the moment. This therapy helps to improve thought clarity and provides patients with the tools that they need to let go of their negative thoughts rather than allowing them to control their lives. 

Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Effective?

The primary goal of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is to help individuals overcome symptoms of chronic depression by learning how to avoid relapses that are often caused by thought patterns that are generally automatic. This treatment helps individuals unlearn unhealthy thought patterns and focus on more positivity. Research surrounding the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy shows that the treatment is incredibly effective in helping individuals reduce the severity of their depression symptoms and reduce cravings for substances. 

Explore Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Pulaski, TN

Our trained professionals at Magnolia Ranch Recovery are committed to taking a comprehensive approach toward helping individuals overcome their addictions. We can meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and how it can help you. Contact our team in Pulaski, TN, today by calling 888-992-7955 to schedule an appointment.

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Picture of Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP
Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP

Experienced Clinical Director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Anger Management, Healthcare, Medicine, EMDR, and Life Transitions. Strong healthcare services professional with a Masters Degree focused in Psychology from The University of Memphis.

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