Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an approach to psychotherapy that was originally created as a relapse-prevention treatment for depression. Research indicates that it may be particularly effective for individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD). The focus on MDD and cognitive processes is what distinguishes MBCT from other mindfulness-based therapies such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which is applicable to a broad range of disorders, and mindfulness-based relapse prevention which is used to treat addiction.
MBCT uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) methods in collaboration with Eastern psychological strategies such as mindfulness meditation. Cognitive methods can include educating the participant about depression. Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation focus on becoming aware of all incoming thoughts and feelings and accepting them, but not attaching or reacting to them. This process is known as “Decentering” and aids in disengaging from self-criticism, rumination, and dysphoric mood that can arise when reacting to negative thinking patterns.