Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

The goal of cognitive therapy is to change clients' problematic thought patterns in order to support their growth and provide relief from the symptoms of mental illness (Beck Institute, 2016).
The practice and state of continuously being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions may be summed up as mindfulness (Greater Good Science Centre, 2017). The ability to accept oneself for who we are, without placing values on our ideas, is another benefit of mindfulness.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) originated in the late 20th century as a therapeutic approach blending traditional cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditation practices. Developed by psychologists Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale, MBCT specifically targeted individuals with recurrent depression. Grounded in Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), MBCT integrated mindfulness exercises and meditation into cognitive therapy to prevent a depressive relapse. The program, first introduced in the 1990s, gained recognition for its efficacy in reducing the risk of relapse among individuals with a history of depression.

Focus theme / core-concept

It is important to treat challenging interior experiences—that is, thoughts and feelings—with compassion, tolerance, understanding, and inquiry throughout this process. The main objective of MBCT was to prevent relapses in patients receiving therapy for depression, with an emphasis on early recurrence detection using enhanced decentering."


1. One of the primary benefits of MBCT is its effectiveness in reducing the risk of depressive relapse, especially for individuals with a history of recurrent depression. The mindfulness and cognitive strategies taught in MBCT empower participants to recognize and respond to early signs of depressive symptoms, interrupting the cycle of relapse.

2. MBCT helps individuals develop a greater awareness of their emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them. Through mindfulness practices, participants learn to observe their emotions with a non-judgmental attitude, leading to improved emotional regulation and a more balanced response to challenging situations.

3. The integration of mindfulness with cognitive therapy in MBCT contributes to improved cognitive functioning. Participants often report increased cognitive flexibility, the ability to break free from rigid thought patterns, and a greater capacity to approach situations with a clear and focused mind.

4. Mindfulness practices in MBCT, such as meditation and mindful breathing, have been shown to reduce stress levels. Participants learn to be present in the moment and cultivate a mindful attitude, which can mitigate the impact of stressors and contribute to an overall sense of well-being.

5. MBCT is associated with improvements in overall quality of life. By fostering mindfulness and self-awareness, individuals are better equipped to navigate life's challenges, build healthier relationships, and experience a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment.


1. The primary goal of MBCT is to prevent the recurrence of depressive episodes in individuals who have experienced multiple episodes of depression. By integrating mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy, MBCT aims to equip participants with skills to recognize and respond to early signs of depressive relapse.

2. MBCT seeks to enhance cognitive awareness by helping individuals develop a non-judgmental and accepting attitude toward their thoughts and emotions. Participants learn to observe their thought patterns without getting entangled in negative cognitive cycles, promoting a more balanced and objective perspective.

3. The program aims to cultivate mindfulness skills, emphasizing present-moment awareness and focused attention. Through meditation practices and mindfulness exercises, participants develop the ability to stay present and fully engage with their experiences, reducing automatic reactions and habitual patterns of thinking.

4. MBCT extends its goals beyond formal meditation sessions, encouraging participants to integrate mindfulness into their daily lives. This includes applying mindfulness to routine activities, relationships, and challenging situations, fostering a sustained and practical approach to mindfulness.

5. MBCT aims to empower individuals to take an active role in their mental health. By providing tools for self-management, participants learn to navigate their emotional landscape with greater resilience. The goal is to enable individuals to become more attuned to their inner experiences and respond to challenges in a way that promotes well-being and reduces the risk of relapse.


1. Mindful Breathing: Participants practice focusing attention on their breath, observing inhalations and exhalations without judgment. This technique enhances present-moment awareness and serves as a foundational mindfulness exercise.

2. Body Scan Meditation: A guided awareness of sensations in different parts of the body helps individuals connect with their physical experiences. This technique fosters mindfulness and can promote relaxation while developing an awareness of the mind-body connection.

3. Mindful Observation of Thoughts: Participants learn to observe their thoughts without getting entangled in them. This involves cultivating a non-judgmental attitude toward thoughts and recognizing them as passing mental events rather than absolute truths.

4. Mindful Movement (Yoga): Incorporating gentle yoga or mindful movement allows individuals to engage in physical activity with heightened awareness. This technique combines movement with mindfulness, promoting a mind-body connection and reducing stress.

5. Three-Minute Breathing Space: A brief, structured practice involving three stages—awareness of current thoughts and feelings, focusing on the breath and body sensations, and expanding awareness to the present moment. This technique is often used as a quick reset in daily life.

6. Loving-Kindness Meditation: Participants cultivate feelings of compassion and goodwill, directing these sentiments towards themselves and others. This technique aims to enhance positive emotions and foster a sense of connection and kindness.

7. Cognitive Restructuring: Traditional cognitive therapy techniques are integrated, where individuals learn to identify and challenge negative thought patterns. Mindfulness is employed to create space between thoughts and reactions, promoting a more adaptive response to cognitive triggers.