Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy(MBCT) is suitable for people wishing to enhance their general physical and mental wellbeing.

Course details

How long is the course? 8 weeks
How often do we meet? 2 hours per week, plus 6 hours on one Saturday
Who is the course for? General Public (over 18yrs)
Where is the course? TBC
How many people on each course? No More Than 15
How much does the course cost? £200
Is the course for me? “Being in a group has been amazing…..to know there are other people just like me”.

If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, recurrent depression or feel generally ‘dissatisfied’ with your life, a mindfulness course could help you develop skills to better respond to the ‘ups and downs’ of everyday living.Previous participants say that their course helped them to be more in the present moment, realise that they are not their thoughts, and be kinder to themselves.

The programme is not being offered as a treatment for any specific physical or psychological conditions. It is not suitable for people who are currently experiencing very severe problems in these areas.

What will I learn? “To have learnt that ‘thoughts are not facts’ has been an absolute revelation for me”

You will learn to deal more skilfully with the stresses and strains of daily living. Practicing the skill of deliberately paying attention to what happens in mind and body we become more familiar with the workings of our own mind patterns and habits, some habits that may no longer be helpful for us. You learn to spot our own ‘warning signs’ early, before the stress or depression become too overwhelming. We can then make plans for how best to respond, rather than react in our old familiar, often unhelpful ways.

There will be a combination of guided meditation practices and cognitive exercises. In between sessions, there will be home practice for people to do and we estimate this takes approximately 1 hour/day.

Does it work? Research shows that practising mindfulness has many benefits. We have strong evidence that mindfulness-based programmes reduce anxiety, depression, and stress and help people cope with illness and pain (Khoury et al., 2013).

Some studies show that the practice of mindfulness increases positive moods and cultivates compassion for self and others (Eberth & Sedlmeier, 2012; Khoury, Sharma, Rush, & Fournier, 2015). It may also improve some forms of attention and memory (Chiesa, Calati, & Serretti, 2011) and there is also preliminary evidence that practising mindfulness has measurable effects on the brain (Tang, Holzel, & Posner, 2015).

The MBCT course includes:

• Mindfulness starts when we recognise the tendency to be on automatic pilot and we make a commitment to learning how best to step out of it and become aware of each moment. Practising how to purposely move
attention around the body shows both how simple, and also how difficult, this can be.
• Further focus on the body begins to show more clearly the ‘chatter of the mind’ and how this tends to control our reactions to everyday events.
• With greater awareness we begin to notice how busy and scattered the mind can often be. Learning to
intentionally take the awareness to the breath, or body sensations, offers the possibility of being more
focused and gathered.
• The mind is most scattered when it tries to cling to something and avoid/escape other things. Mindfulness
offers a way to stay present, to view things from another place, to help take a wider perspective and
relate differently to experience.
• Relating differently involves bringing to experience a sense of ‘allowing’ it to be just as it is, without judging it or trying to make it different. Such an attitude of acceptance is a major part of taking care of oneself
and seeing more clearly what, if anything, needs to change.
• Negative moods and the thoughts that accompany them restrict our ability to relate differently to
experience. It is liberating to realise that our thoughts are merely thoughts, even the ones that say they are
not!
• There are some specific things that can be done when depression, anxiety or stress threatens.
Taking a breathing space will come first, and then deciding what action, if any, to take. Each person has
his or her unique warning signs and having an awareness of these, ‘spotting’ them early, will help in
making plans for how best to respond to the turmoil of the mind, depressed mood etc, before it becomes
too overwhelming.
• Maintaining a balance in life is helped by regular mindfulness practice. Good intentions can be strengthened by linking such intentions to a positive reason for taking care of oneself.