Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
Mindfulness based psychotherapy is a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness strategies. Mindfulness incorporates the following concepts: being in the moment, acceptance, compassion, patience, non-judgment, awareness, non-reactive, meditation and observing your mind. Becoming aware of thoughts, feelings and images that result in our negative reactions is an important process of mindfulness psychotherapy training. These strategies are then added to traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is described fully under the CBT treatment description.
The underlying theory of MBCT is learning to become aware of incoming thoughts, feeling and images and reacting differently. What this means is taking a stance of acceptance instead of one of conflict and struggle, which only serves to enhance the reaction and grow it rather than dissipating it. This is based on the premise that whatever we give our energy to grows and if we withdraw our energy it dissolves. When we react to our thoughts, feelings and images this serves to only entrench us in the negativity and results in stuckness instead of releasing us from the situation.
In life suffering is optional, but we all seem to repeat those habitual behaviors that keep us stuck. The scripts of life which prevent us from moving forward and seeing that we actually have alternatives to choose from. Mindfulness training teaches us to let go of the bad habits that we have learned in the past and learn to develop new ways to look at and experience situations. Mindfulness reminds us to interrupt our automatic ways of thinking, acting and feeling by remaining present to our experience in the here and now, instead of looking at the situation with our old memories and perceptions or looking into the future trying to predict or forecast what is going to happen.
By remaining present this allows us to determine when we are being controlled by our thoughts or ways of being and releases us to choose again from a healthier place of non-reactivity, non-judgment that the gives us a different result. The different result then creates an alternative neural pathway in our brains and generates a new healthier habit, instead of retreating to what is comfortable, safe and habitual.