Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Recurrent Depression
Kuyken W., Evans A.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to teach people with a history of depression the skills to prevent depression and stay well. It uses a cognitive science theoretical formulation which proposes that, in people at risk for depression, negative, automatic patterns of thinking and behaving are easily triggered and can escalate into a depressive episode. MBCT is a an 8-week, group-based psychosocial approach that uses mindfulness training and cognitive-behavioral exercises that teach people to recognize the early warning signs of depression, relate to them in a decentered and embodied way, and step out of old patterns of reactivity. These skills enable participants to nip relapse in the bud by learning resilient ways of managing their thoughts, feelings, and life challenges. A substantial body of research attests to its efficacy and promising evidence suggests it works through its putative mechanism of action, cultivating mindfulness, and self-compassion. This chapter summarizes the theoretical foundations and empirical support for MBCT. A case study illustrates the course of treatment and practical issues that arise in its implementation.