Breathing Space London

mindfulness for health

About Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is a clinically tested treatment for preventing relapse into depression. Through a combination of meditation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), it helps people break the link between negative moods and negative thinking. This can help you stay free from depression without necessarily needing to continue to take antidepressants. MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

How MBCT works to prevent relapse into depression

Research has shown that a major characteristic of depression is that it can feed on itself; you get depressed and then get more depressed about being depressed. Negative thoughts start to become automatic. MBCT can help challenge this negative thinking by teaching you how to become more 'mindful', or aware, of what is going on in your mind and body.


A. We start by developing awareness of what is happening in our experience. We do this through formal meditation, mindful exercises, and being mindful of other activities during the day such as walking or eating.

B. Next, we learn to be with our experience. Instead of pushing away unwanted thoughts, emotions or other experiences, we try to cultivate an attitude of acceptance. Pushing away our experience can often make it worse. Acceptance gives us an opportunity to really find out what's going on and choose how best to respond. It also allows us to savour pleasant experiences.

C. Finally, we can choose how best to respond to our experience. Sometimes the most helpful thing is to be with our experience as best as we can, perhaps noting thoughts as just thoughts (not facts) or noting familiar unhelpful thinking patterns. Sometimes it can be best to take some practical action by dealing with the issue or engaging in some pleasurable or satisfying activity.

Recommended books on MBCT and depression

[23-01-09] 41b6Ngh5PfL._SL500_AA240_.jpgFull Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who pioneered the use of mindfulness to help with stress and chronic pain. His course served as the basis for the development of MBCT. The book is aimed at anyone wanting to understand how to use mindfulness to help with stress, emotions and life.

Available from the London Buddhist Centre bookshop.



[27-02-09] Mindful way through depression book cover.jpgThe Mindful Way through Depression, by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. This readable book describes MBCT for people suffering from recurrent depression and includes a CD with guided meditation.

Available from the London Buddhist Centre bookshop




Detailed information and research on MBCT