Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can help us learn ways to reduce the impact of worry and rumination, which can increase our mental wellbeing. MBCT can help by strengthening our ability:
- to notice when we are caught up in unhelpful thoughts;
- to let these thoughts go and bring our attention back to the present moment; and
- to relate to ourselves and our experience with greater gentleness and kindness.
Delivered in a group setting, MBCT provides a safe environment in which to learn how to be more present in our everyday lives.
What does MBCT involve?
MBCT teaches a range of meditation practices and cognitive therapy techniques. It is important to realise that the approach is not about learning simple relaxation or becoming detached from painful experiences. It is being able to cultivate a gentle and compassionate curiosity to our moment-to-moment experiences. It is also about accepting things as they currently are and in this way increasing our level of choice.
The approach works through practice, and those who are able to practice every day and make it part of daily life usually feel the benefits the most.
If we can learn ways to be kinder to ourselves, it’s likely that we’ll criticise ourselves less and will feel happier as a result.
What else should I know?
Typically, each class will start with a meditation practice and this will be followed by a discussion of people’s experiences during the practice.
You will be free to participate in the group in your way. For example, if you prefer not to speak in front of the whole group, but rather want to simply listen to what others have to say then that’s absolutely fine.
The size of the class will depend upon how many people are interested, but it is likely to be between 6 and 15 people of all ages.
The course will also involve 30 to 60 minutes of home-work a day, including meditation practices and other exercises. This is an important part of the programme, so it is worth ensuring that you have the time available to do this, before you decide to come on the course.
If you’d like to read more about mindfulness to help you decide whether you’d like to join the course at this time then these are good books to try:
- ‘The Mindful Way Through Depression’ by Mark Williams and others.
- ‘Wherever you go, there you are’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
- ‘Mindfulness for beginners’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
- ‘Mindfulness: Finding peace in frantic world’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.