Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is used as a mindfulness-based treatment for people who have a history of recurrent depression. Recurrent depression is defined as the occurrence of three or more episodes of depression. People with recurrent depression are highly susceptible to experiencing future episodes of depression.

MBCT is based in large part on the teachings of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction but also focuses on helping prevent recurrent depression. MBCT is an eight week group course which was developed by a group of Cognitive Behavioral therapists from Cambridge University.  MBCT is a group based educational program and should not be confused with counseling interventions. The focus with MBCT is on learning to use mindfulness approaches generally rather than on solving problems specific to the individual.

MBCT is used with individuals after they have recovered from a depressive episode.  It is designed to reduce the rate of recurrence of future depressive episodes.  This is accomplished in part by teaching the individuals to use mindfulness practices to give the individual new tools to deal with ruminative thinking and reduce the risk of having negative thinking spiral into a new depressive episode.

MCBT has been shown to reduce risk of depression in half for those with recurrent depression. This finding has been replicated in 6 trials around the world with 600 patients.


DR. Mark Williams, co-founder of MBCT of Cambridge University


Peter J. Bieling, PhD, Director, Mental Health and Addictions Services, St. Joseph’s Hospital