What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)?
Mindfulness is one of the four pillars of the program we offer here at Hope Rehab (the other three pillars are 12-step work, health & fitness, and CBT). Mindfulness meshes well with other disciplines, and it can be used in a variety of ways to help those of us who are recovering from addiction. It can also be used to manage other conditions such as chronic pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating problems, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Mindfulness practices have been helping people develop inner peace for thousands of years, but it is only relatively recently that it has become popular as a treatment outside of a spiritual context. The therapeutic use of mindfulness has been found to be effective for numerous mental and physical health problems, and this has led to the development of a number of mindfulness-based approaches including:
How Can MBCT Help Me?
MBCT combines mindfulness with cognitive-behavioural therapy, and it can be effective for managing depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behaviour.
Cognitive-based therapy and anti-depressant medication can be effective for helping people manage the symptoms of conditions such as depression. The benefit of MBCT is that it is designed to prevent people from becoming depressed or overly-anxious in the first place.
If you have dealt with depression in the past, there is a high likelihood that you will experience it again in the future. This is believed to happen because previous episodes of depression create connections in the brain between mood and negative thinking. The benefit of MBCT is that you can use it to weaken these connections. This same process can work for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
One of the important CBT tools you are going to pick up during your stay with us at Hope Rehab is known as the ABCs. This model is used to allow you to develop insights into how your thoughts impact your mood and behaviour – i.e. as I think, so I feel and do.
How is the MBCT ABC-model different from the CBT ABC-model?
The ABC’s break situations down into three separate features which are:
Something happens and you interpret what is happening.
Your interpretation of the event will be influenced by your beliefs (these can be accurate or inaccurate).
Your behavior will be influenced by your interpretation of the activating event (e.g. if a friend drives past you without stopping, you might interpret this to be an insult, so you get angry and send this person a nasty email.)
Using the ABC model can allow you to see how your beliefs about things can be the source of much of your suffering. You can then use this insight to positively change your life.
The ABC-model as used as part of MBCT is slightly different than the traditional ABCs, and it is broken down into:
…of what is happening
…with whatever it is you are experiencing.
…the best response to the situation.
The MBCT ABC-model is easier to understand with the help of an example, so let’s use the scenario of a friend driving by without acknowledging you. If you were to use the ABCs here you would:
Mindfulness means you are no longer just reacting to things on auto-pilot or in the heat of the moment.