Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a group-based course that combines elements of cognitive therapy with mindfulness practice. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) particularly recommends it for people who have previously experienced three or more episodes of depression and there is evidence that it can reduce the chances of depression returning.
There is also growing evidence that MBCT can help with a range of other conditions, including stress, chronic pain and some types of anxiety.
If you would like to know more about MBCT please follow this link.
Practising mindfulness can help us to notice when we have become caught up in unhelpful patterns of negative thinking that drag our mood down or make us more anxious. It can help us to let go of such thoughts and bring attention back to the present moment.
Becoming more fully aware and present in each moment of life can feel challenging, but it can also make life more enjoyable, interesting, and fulfilling.
About The Course
A telephone conversation with one of the facilitators prior to the course and an introductory group session provide opportunities to learn more and find out whether or not the course is right for you at this time.
The course itself lasts for 8 sessions and each session is 2 hours long. Each week there is a mixture of mindfulness practice, discussion about this practice, and exercises from cognitive therapy. Participants do not need to share their personal histories in the group.
Mindfulness practice involves bringing attention to present moment experiences (such as breathing or body sensations) as best we can. Inevitably the mind will wander. When it does, we practise greeting this with a sense of patience and gentleness, before guiding our attention back to the present.
What you can expect from each session
Awareness of Automatic Pilot
In a car we can sometimes drive for miles on “automatic pilot” without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present” moment by moment, for much of our lives.
Living Our Lives in “Our Heads”
Our aim in the program is to be more fully aware, more often. We can have a tendency to judge our experience as being not quite right in some way- that it is not what should be happening. Often these thoughts will take us, quite automatically down some fairly well-worn paths in our minds. They are not always helpful.
Gathering Our Scattered Mind
The mind is often scattered and lost in thought because it is working away in the back-ground to complete unfinished tasks from the past and to strive for goals for the future. We need to find a reliable way intentionally to “come back” to the here and now.
Difficult things are part and parcel of life its self. It is how we relate to these things that makes the difference. A change in attitude and relationship to difficulty can make the difference between difficulties controlling our lives, and relating more lightly enabling us to more mindfully and more skilfully respond.
Allowing/letting it be
In this session we begin to gently explore the possibility of being more present with difficulty, “turning” gently towards the experience with kindness. Through cultivating a “willingness to experience” we settle back into an awareness of what is already present. We let it be-we simply notice and observe whatever is already here.
Thoughts Are Not Facts
Our thoughts can have a very powerful effect on how we feel and what we do. Often these thoughts are automatic.
“From thoughts come actions. From actions come all sorts of consequences. In which thoughts will we invest? Our great task is to see them more clearly, so that we can choose which ones to act on and which simply to let be.”
Joseph Goldstein 1989
How Can I Best Take Care of Myself
What we actually do with our time from moment to moment, from hour to hour, from day-to day can very powerfully affect our general well-being and our ability to deal skilfully with depression and anxiety.
Maintaining and Developing New Learning
A recurring theme throughout this course has been, awareness, acceptance, and responding mindfully to situations.
Deciding on a regular pattern of practice that you feel will be helpful to continue with now that the course has ended.
The Importance of Home Practice
Learning a different approach takes time and effort. An essential part of the course is home practice of about 30-40 minutes a day. It can be challenging to find this time, but it is really worth it.
Central to MBCT is learning how to be more fully aware in each moment of life. This means facing what is present, even if it is tough or uncomfortable. In this course you will learn gentle ways to face difficulties and will be supported while doing this. It is recommended that you consider the support you can call on during the course (e.g. family members or friends).
How do I make referral?
If you would like to register your interest in attending one of our MBCT courses, please go to our courses page where you can complete a short online registration form.
“A very useful and helpful course. It empowers people to be kinder to themselves and to find inner peace.”
“I am now more loving and compassionate and have a great desire to give. I am so much more accepting and forgiving of myself.”