Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MCBT) is another beneficial form of counseling that developed out of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This version of CBT brings mindfulness practices into therapy sessions and everyday use, so the person is able to stay centered and focused on the present moment. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, like traditional CBT, offers versatility to help individuals who are experiencing a wide range of challenges, but it was specifically developed for individuals who experience chronic and recurring periods of depression. In this blog, the LMV Counseling team will discuss what mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is, who it can help, and what to expect during mindfulness-based cognitive therapy sessions.

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What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

CBT is a form of therapy that explores the way our thoughts impact emotions and actions. During CBT therapy sessions, counselors work with clients to develop tools and strategies to disrupt unhelpful or damaging thought patterns and reevaluate and change the way individuals think, feel, and react in specific situations. Mindfulness is one of the most helpful tools for breaking out of negative thought patterns. For this reason, many therapists started incorporating mindfulness into CBT sessions, leading to the development of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT. By using mindfulness to disrupt distorted thinking patterns, individuals feel more grounded in the present moment, have thoughts and feelings rooted in the reality of the situation, and they can react in more appropriate ways. This leads to significantly less experience of negative emotional responses and behaviors.

Who Should Consider MBCT?

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MBCT was originally utilized to help those who struggle with depression, including major depressive disorder, post-partum depression, and suicidal ideation. It was proven extremely beneficial to improve mood for individuals who had experienced prolonged, chronic, and recurring periods of depression throughout their lifetime. By using mindfulness practices to focus on the present moment, individuals who struggle with depressed mood noticed significantly diminished duration and intensity of depressed feelings. MBCT has also proven beneficial in addressing anxiety disorders and panic attacks, disordered eating, body image issues, and addictive or compulsive behaviors. In some cases, MBCT can also be helpful as part of the healing and recovery process after experiencing a traumatic event. Mindfulness has been shown to be especially beneficial for individuals who experience flashbacks and other common post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

What Happens During MBCT Sessions?

MBCT started as a form of group therapy. Today, it is still utilized regularly in group therapy settings, and it has proven to be an effective therapy approach for groups. In addition to group based MBCT, this approach to counseling can also be used in one-on-one therapy sessions, depending on the needs of the individual. In either group or individual settings, MBCT sessions begin with a mindfulness practice. This may be a deep breathing exercise, yoga, meditation, or other mindfulness activity. After the mindfulness practice, clients explore the way thinking, feeling, and acting are interconnected. They may work with their therapist on developing strategies for navigating difficult situations outside of therapy sessions or review a challenging event that happened since the last session. Finally, the therapist will provide “homework” to do before the next session. That homework will usually involve incorporating a daily (or several times a day) mindfulness activity into the individual’s daily routine. Additionally, the client may be challenged to process or resolve a difficult situation or make a specific, positive change.

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Schedule a Session at LMV Counseling

Whether you’re curious about incorporating mindfulness practices or MBCT into your current counseling sessions or you’re ready to work with the LMV Counseling team for the first time, we would love to hear from you. To get started, we invite you to call the LMV Counseling team at (910) 210-6160, email info@wilmington-counseling.com, or simply fill out our online scheduling request form. Let us know that you would like to learn more about and explore the benefits of MBCT.