Therapy Guide: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy | Techniques, Benefits & How To Get Started

Last Update on September 9, 2021 : Published on September 9, 2021
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT is another form of psychotherapy that combines the elements of cognitive therapy with the elements of mindfulness meditation or other mindfulness-based activities.

A relatively new approach to therapy, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale based on the principles of Mindfulness-based stress reduction developed by Kabat-Zinn.

MBCT therapy can help people struggling with managing their thoughts and emotions. This psychotherapy works in helping people relieve feelings of discomfort and anxiety. While originally developed to address depression, MBCT therapy can be useful in treating other mental health disorders as well.

In this blog, you’ll get to explore what are the techniques involved in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, the benefits of MBCT, and how you can get started on this therapy.

MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) Techniques:

MBCT Techniques

Mindfulness-based CBT is based on the principles and elements of cognitive therapy and mindfulness meditation. MBCT can help you consciously focus on your thoughts, emotions, and feelings without judging them. Many mindfulness techniques can be incorporated in MBCT, including:

  • Meditation: Guided or unguided meditation can help garner self-awareness of body, thoughts, and emotions.
  • Body Scan: Bringing awareness to other areas of your body can also help in MBCT.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness means being in the present moment. Incorporating mindfulness activities into daily life can help direct this therapy too.
  • Yoga: Did you know that you can practice mindfulness yoga as well? This can help promote attentive stretching of your body.

You might also be taught a three-step breathing method that aims at you completing three steps:

  1. Observing: Observe how you’re feeling at this moment?
  2. Breathing: Your focus should be on your breathing
  3. Sensations: Closely pay attention to the sensations you are experiencing in your body

MBCT Can Help Address

MBCT Can Help Address

MBCT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help address not only recurring depression or depressive episodes but also mental health struggles such as:

Benefits Of MBCT

Benefits Of MBCT

CBT helps you identify the source of your thoughts and negative emotions and work on changing those beliefs into positive ones. MBCT uses these elements of cognitive therapy to help you identify these negative thoughts, their occurring patterns, and replace those with positive thoughts and beliefs.

This mindfulness-based approach helps you know your thoughts without getting too worked up thinking about the future. MBCT encourages you to provide transparency to your thoughts and let go of negative ones using mindfulness techniques.

Similar to CBT, Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy treats you knowing that if you have a history of depressive episodes or are likely to experience mental distress, you’ll be more prone to automatic cognitive responses that might’ve triggered your distress previously.

With this therapy, you can not only observe your thoughts and identify the patterns but also learn how to interrupt your automatic thoughts and healthily cope with your emotions and feelings.

Is It Effective?

The aim of MBCT is to help treat long-term or chronic depression and how to prevent depression relapse. In some studies, it was found that MBCT reduces the risk of depression relapse and works as productively as antidepressant medications do.

MBCT is recommended to those who struggle with recurring depression or are more prone to depression relapse. According to research, depression, MBCT can help manage addiction, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other related disorders.

How To Get Started?


Please keep in mind that MBCT is a program that lasts 8 weeks. During this time, you’ll be given a weekly course or homework, just as in a cognitive therapy session. You can try talking to your doctor or connect with an online therapist here if you’re interested in starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Mindfulness is quickly becoming popular for its ability to improve mental health and boost positivity. Incorporating mindfulness techniques with CBT can prove helpful if you’re struggling with depression and depression-related disorders.

Before you decide on MBCT, you must consult with a professional and understand your symptoms. Please note that as elements of CBT are included, you’ll be expected to do homework outside of class such as trying to adjust mindfulness practices in your day-to-day tasks, etc.

This means that you’ll be expected to practice mindfulness in your daily mundane tasks that may include washing dishes, exercising, folding laundry, etc. Skills you need are:

  • Not doubting yourself or what you’re doing
  • Concentrating on the present moment without distractions
  • Avoiding being uncertain about what you’re doing
  • Being aware of your surroundings
  • Being non-judgmental

[Also Read: Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) | Meaning, Benefits & Activities]

Writer’s Thoughts

Mindfulness is an approach that requires you to be present at the moment rather than dwell on your thoughts and uncertainties of the future. Cognitive therapy is the psychotherapy that helps you identify the source of your negative thinking and replace the negative emotions, feelings, and thoughts with positive ones.

MBCT combines these two different approaches and uses their elements to teach you ways you can relieve mental distress and prevent future relapses.

I hope this article helped you understand mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, MBCT techniques, and how they can help you. For more, you can always write to us at or connect with us on social media.

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Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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