Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is one of the newer forms of therapy, developed in the 1990’s, that uses a combination of mindfulness techniques and some of the more traditional cognitive behavioral strategies.
Although it is mostly used in many non-medical and non-psychiatric settings, it can assist with a myriad of emotional and physical problems such as stress management, depression, anxiety, coping skills, anger and other behavior issues and acute and chronic pain control.
Why do we need mindfulness based cognitive therapy?
Our lifestyles lead us to unhealthy thinking patterns of constant planning, remembering, analyzing and worrying, which all trigger our pre-conditioned stress response of going into fight or flight mode. This can lead to emotional and physical complaints that cause us to under-perform and suffer in many areas of our worlds.
Practicing mindfulness and “being in the present moment” triggers healthier responses, helping us to be calmer and in control, have better decision making abilities, improved productivity and to have clarity and objectivity in our thinking-patterns.
Mindfulness Quick Links:
How it all started:
Teasdale and Barnard (1991) developed the “Interacting Cognitive Subsystems” or ICS with the premise that the mind has two primary modes of dealing with information and events in our environment.
The “doing-mode” is goal driven and comes to the fore when there is an inconsistency between what is real and factual and what the mind wants something to be.
The “being-mode” is focused on accepting what is, in the here and now, without feeling the need to change it or changing the meaning it has for you.
Metacognitive awareness, the capability to let negativity move through the mind without becoming part of the self, became the main element of their theory. Those with this ability tend to cope better with daily stressors and problems like recurring depression.
Mindfulness therapy sessions concentrate on teaching how to move away from automatic thought patterns towards more objective, conscious thinking. Metacognitive awareness is actively developed and heightened in order to teach the mind to response in more healthy and skilled ways.
Being in the present moment, accepting what is, without wanting to change or interpret it, will greatly enhance emotional well-being, leading to healthier thinking patterns that will touch and better every other aspects of your life.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy helps in identifying self-defeating thinking, so that the associated assumptions and ways of doing, that hampers us can be dealt with. New thinking patterns can be set in place that will lead to healthier emotional responses.
The therapist can assist the client to explore the thinking patterns that emerge during mindfulness exercises so that the source of problems can be probed and new insights achieved. Knowing and understanding the reasons behind our thinking patterns and how we deal with different situations can introduce more compassion for the self and others.