Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Based Cognitive 

Treatment Options -Mindfulness

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, MBCT, is a type of therapy that incorporates cognitive therapy, meditative principles, and mindfulness strategies together to help you better understand and manage your thoughts and emotions. 

MBCT has been shown to be particularly effective at helping people who have suffered from multiple episodes of depression. This is because MBCT can be used to treat people currently experiencing active depression and can also be used to prevent depression relapses in the future.

What MBCT Is Used For

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was originally developed to help prevent depression relapses for individuals who have experienced multiple depressive episodes. 

Over time, it has become apparent that MCBT can be a helpful tool in treating other conditions as well, such as: 

  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • General emotional distress
  • Addictions
  • Generalized anxiety disorders
  • Low mood or unhappiness outside of a clinical mood disorder
  • Depression associated with medical illnesses

The MBCT Structure

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be taught in an individual or group setting. At Options MD, we provide mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in a one-on-one setting in order to provide you with a customized and tailored experience. 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a short-term therapy option designed to last about eight sessions, given on a weekly basis.

During your sessions with your therapist, you will learn about the basic principles of cognitive exercise as well as meditation techniques. 

You will be asked to complete homework on days when you don’t have a therapy session.  This homework is essential to the overall therapy process. The homework focuses on bringing the principles of mindfulness you are learning and applying them to your daily life. 

Common homework may include practicing breathing exercises, listening to a guided meditation session, or just being more engaged in the present moment as you go through your daily routine. 

At the end of your course of treatment, you will be equipped with mindfulness tools that you can continue to use daily to help you with your depression.

How MBCT Works

MBCT focuses on helping you learn how to change your relationship to sadness and other negative emotions so that they are less likely to trigger a relapse of depression. 

You will become equipped to notice the prevalence of Automatic Negative Thoughts, ANTs,  in your life. ANTs are the kind of negative self-talk that happens almost immediately in your mind without you even being aware of trying to form a thought in response to a certain situation or stimulus. 

By learning to notice ANTs, you will be able to: 

  • Step back and observe them
  • Challenge and test the thoughts to show if they are actually true
  • Reduce self-judgment and reduce the impact of the judgment of others

By learning how to accept emotions like sadness through meditation and mindfulness exercises, you learn how to move away from your automatic negative response to these emotions. You learn how to replace the negative thinking that can trigger a relapse of depression and instead respond with compassion, calmness, and positive actions. 

The exercises you learn during the MBCT program can provide you with lifelong tools you use to control your thoughts and responses. 

MBCT can greatly impact your mindset and help you connect more to the world around you. It can help improve your mood and provide you with tools to handle life’s challenges.

Examples of MBCT Exercises

There are numerous mindfulness exercises you will learn throughout the MBCT program that will help you learn how to cope with your depression. Here are a few examples of different mindfulness exercises you will learn during an MBCT program. 

The Three-minute Breathing Space

The three-minute breathing space is a quick exercise that literally takes three minutes. 

  • In the first minute, you focus on answering the question, “How am I doing right now?” and pay attention to what you feel and think about this question. 
  • In the second minute, you focus on breathing. 
  • In the last minute, you expand your attention from breathing to focus on your entire body's physical sensations. 

Creating a breathing space helps you focus directly on the moment and what your mind and body are doing.

Daily Mindfulness Exercises

Daily mindfulness exercises focus your attention on your thoughts and feelings as you go through everyday tasks. 

For example, when brushing your teeth, you would focus on how the bristles feel as they run against teeth, gums, and tongue. You would focus on the taste of the toothpaste. You would immerse yourself in the moment.  This helps you keep aware of the present moment and interrupt negative thoughts caused by your depression or anxiety.

Mindfulness exercises can be applied to various daily tasks, such as washing dishes, eating, and even showering. 


Mindful yoga is a new form of yoga that applies traditional Buddhist mindfulness teachings to the physical practice of yoga, with a focus on mind-body awareness and less of a focus on your exact physical posture. 

Mindful yoga is about awareness of what is happening in your body and mind as you move through different poses. It is about focusing on the present moment. 

Mindful stretching and exercise are great MBCT exercises that can help you practice mindfulness. Our therapists can support you in finding local opportunities to practice mindfulness, such as local yoga classes. 

These are just a few examples of the types of mindfulness exercises that are encouraged during an MBCT program. The great thing about these mindfulness exercises is that you can easily continue to practice them independently after your program is done, providing you with a long-term tool for preventing and dealing with depression.

Get the help you need to fight your depression today

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is one of the many options for treating your depression. Our experts will meet with you and work together to form a treatment plan that meets your unique needs. 

Options MD has also put together the largest free Facebook community of individuals with treatment-resistant depression where you can find support.

Options MD

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