MBCT – Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy For Depression

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy For Depression

Depression is a common mental health condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. There are several treatment options available, but some individuals may not respond or may experience side effects. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a promising alternative treatment approach for depression that combines mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy techniques. In this blog, we will explore the principles, benefits, and process of mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression.

What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

What Is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a form of therapy that combines elements of cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditation. It aims to help individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders to become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and develop new ways of responding to them. Through the practice of mindfulness, individuals learn to observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment, develop greater self-awareness, and cultivate a more compassionate attitude toward themselves and others.

Is MBCT Effective For Depression?

Yes, it is an effective option. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression aims to help people become more aware of their thoughts and emotions. It teaches how to manage negative thoughts more productively and positively. Hence, this therapy is effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and stress.

Focus Areas Of MBCT

Here are the key focus areas of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression:

  • Recognizing negative thought patterns and challenging them with cognitive restructuring techniques.
  • Developing mindfulness skills to accept present-moment experiences without judgment or avoidance.
  • Understanding the interconnection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Building self-compassion and reducing self-criticism.
  • Practicing relaxation and stress reduction techniques.
  • Enhancing interpersonal relationships by developing empathic and compassionate communication skills.
  • Creating a personal plan for maintaining the benefits of the therapy and preventing relapse.

How Is MBCT Delivered?

Here is a general process of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression:


Before beginning MBCT, individuals are typically screened to determine whether they are appropriate candidates for the therapy. This may involve an assessment of current symptoms, medical history, and previous treatment.

Group sessions

Group sessions

MBCT is typically delivered in a group format, consisting of 8-10 weekly sessions that last approximately 2 hours each. Groups are led by trained MBCT instructors, who provide guidance and support for individuals as they learn mindfulness and cognitive therapy techniques. The idea behind these group sessions is to create a social environment to overcome isolation.

Mindfulness practices

Each MBCT session typically includes a variety of mindfulness practices, such as body scans, breath awareness, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and yoga. These practices are designed to help individuals develop greater awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. In addition, this helps to cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation.

Cognitive therapy

In addition to mindfulness practices, MBCT also incorporates cognitive therapy techniques. This may involve identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that can contribute to depression and anxiety, and developing more positive and adaptive ways of thinking.

Group discussion

MBCT sessions also typically include group discussions, in which individuals can share their experiences and learn from one another. This provides an opportunity for social support and a sense of community, which can help to reduce feelings of isolation and increase motivation for practice.

Home practice

Outside of group sessions, individuals are typically encouraged to practice mindfulness and cognitive therapy techniques on their own. This may involve daily mindfulness meditation, journaling, or other self-reflection exercises.



After completing the 8-10 week MBCT program, individuals may receive follow-up support to help them maintain their mindfulness and cognitive therapy practice. This may involve additional group sessions, individual therapy, or referrals to other resources as needed.

Mindfulness Practices In MBCT

Given below are some examples of mindfulness practices that are used in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT):

Body scan

This is a guided meditation practice that involves bringing attention to different parts of the body. This includes from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. The goal is to become more aware of physical sensations, such as tension, discomfort, or relaxation. This is done to cultivate a sense of spacious awareness that can help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Breath awareness

This involves bringing attention to the sensations of breathing. Such as the movement of the chest or the feeling of air passing through the nostrils. The goal is to focus on the breath as a way to anchor one’s attention in the present moment and to develop greater mindfulness and relaxation.

Sitting meditation

This involves sitting comfortably with an upright posture and bringing attention to the breath or other present-moment experiences, such as sounds or bodily sensations. The goal is to practice non-judgmental awareness and acceptance of one’s experiences, as they arise and pass away.

Walking meditation

This involves bringing awareness to the sensations of walking, such as the feeling of the feet making contact with the ground. The goal is to cultivate mindfulness and a sense of groundedness in everyday activities and to develop a greater appreciation for the body and its movements.

Mindful movement

This involves practicing yoga or other gentle forms of exercise with a focus on present-moment awareness. The goal is to cultivate mindfulness and relaxation in the body and to develop a greater awareness of how physical movement can affect one’s mental and emotional states.

Informal mindfulness practices

This involves bringing mindfulness to everyday activities, such as eating, washing dishes, or taking a shower. The goal is to cultivate a sense of present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance in all aspects of one’s life and to integrate mindfulness practice into daily routines.

Benefits Of MBCT For Depression

Benefits Of MBCT For DepressionGiven below are some of the benefits of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT):

  • Reduced risk of relapse: MBCT is effective in reducing the risk of relapse in individuals who have experienced recurrent episodes of depression. It can help to recognize early warning signs of depression and develop coping strategies to prevent relapse.
  • Improved mood: MBCT is effective in improving mood in individuals with depression. By developing greater awareness of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, individuals can learn to respond to them more skillfully and compassionately, leading to improvements in mood and emotional well-being.
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety: MBCT is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in individuals with depression. By learning to cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation through mindfulness practices, individuals can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
  • Increased self-awareness: MBCT can help individuals develop greater self-awareness. This can lead to greater insight and understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By developing greater awareness of negative thought patterns and learning to reframe them, individuals can develop more positive and adaptive ways of thinking.
  • Improved quality of life: By reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, MBCT can improve individuals’ overall quality of life. Research suggests that MBCT can lead to improvements in relationships, work, and daily functioning.


In conclusion, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a promising treatment approach for individuals with depression. MBCT combines mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy techniques. Moreover, it helps to develop greater self-awareness, cultivate more adaptive ways of thinking, and prevent relapse. By providing a structured and supportive approach to developing mindfulness and cognitive therapy skills, MBCT offers individuals a valuable tool for managing and overcoming depression. It is important to work with a trained therapist for MBCT.

For more information, please contact MantraCare. Depression is a mental illness characterized by persistent feelings of sadnesshopelessness, and loss of interest in daily activities. If you have any queries regarding Online Depression Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial Depression Therapy session.

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