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What is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy uses techniques that focus emotional states in the here and now to interrupt the chain of negative thoughts and rumination. Are you interested in knowing more about it? Keep reading!

What is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (TCAP) is a type of psychotherapy applied to patients with depressive disorders. Integrates aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression with mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

What exactly does it consist of? When is it recommended? First of all, it should be remembered that it covers two therapeutic proposals of similar origins, but with certain differences. To better understand what it is about, it is worth reviewing the characteristics of each one. We will detail it below.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness

First of all, cognitive-behavioral therapy belongs to the so-called ‘second wave therapies’. His approach focuses on the role of cognitions in the root and maintenance of problems.

One of its most prominent exponents, the psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck, explains depression from the so-called “cognitive triad.” The patient has a negative view of himself, of events and of the future.

Therefore, depressive symptoms would be the consequence of negative thought patterns. In this sense, cognitive therapy seeks to intervene on said patterns (cognitive biases) to replace them with healthier and more adaptive ones.

Meanwhile, third-generation therapies focus on contextual aspects and functional analysis of behavior. That is, in what context is said behavior working, for what and how to adapt it towards something healthier, instead of eliminating it.

In this classification is mindfulness. Its creator, Jon Kabat Zinn, interprets it as mindfulness. The present moment (here and now) of experiences as they appear, without judging them.

What is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?

Both cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness have positive effects on emotion regulation.

Applications of mindfulness or mindfulness

Mindfulness or mindfulness is applied in different situations, which are not necessarily linked to diseases. Specifically, it is useful for problems of depression, generalized anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, among others. Likewise, it has been determined that it contributes to the treatment of addictions and compulsions.

Its field of application is quite wide, and it is even suggested for both adults and children. By working with relaxation, meditation, and mindful breathing, it can help improve performance, concentration, and the ability to cope with difficult situations.

Among other things, it helps:

Distance yourself from negative thoughts.
Focus on self-pity.
Regulate emotions.
Become aware of your own thoughts and feelings.
Avoid blame.
Improve mood.
Strengthen self-esteem.

How does mindfulness-based cognitive therapy work?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (TCAP) was developed from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. It is a proposal by Segal, Williams and Teasdale, aimed at preventing relapses in patients with depression. Specifically, it lasts for eight weeks.

It combines relaxation and meditation along with the body scan, a technique that helps to be more aware of body sensations. He also attaches importance to psychoeducation so that people have tools to connect in another way with their thoughts.

Cognitive therapy emphasizes the connection between thoughts and feelings. For this, the program is structured in two main parts.

First part

The first four sessions are oriented towards self-knowledge and awareness. The dizzying pace of the day means that many are not aware of what is happening to them, or why. Patients are introduced to relaxation and breathing techniques to recognize every part of their body.

Once this is worked on, it leads to the exploration of moods. Here we seek to learn to focus on them. This is accompanied by self-records throughout the day to identify pleasant moments and the sensations that accompany them.

Second part

The last three sessions make up the second phase of treatment. Once the person is aware of their feelings and thoughts, it is suggested to seek positive coping.

This is accomplished by breathing and designing different action plans when experiencing discomfort. Thus, it is possible to find alternative ways to stop perpetuating what ails you.


What is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has had positive effects in reducing relapses in patients with depression.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: How Does It Help Patients With Depression?

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy focuses on the identification and recognition of thoughts, in the here and now. Thus, and with the practice of meditation, rumination, which is an aspect that affects depression, can be interrupted little by little.

Likewise, thoughts of guilt and self-criticism decrease, since mindfulness works to suspend judgment. The person learns to pay more attention to their thoughts and to identify her emotions, which allows them to recognize that thinking and feeling feed each other.

It should be noted that, sometimes, depression leads to the avoidance of certain situations, especially social ones. With TCAP, this avoidance decreases, since awareness of what it feels like increases and other ways to solve it are sought.

What should you remember about mindfulness-based cognitive therapy?

Depression is one of the main concerns worldwide due to its high prevalence rates. Its aggravating factor is that there are risks of relapse, even when receiving treatment. Fortunately, the approach from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (TCAP) has yielded positive and promising results.

By working from psychoeducation, relaxation and awareness not only empowers the patient around his “thinking and green himself”, but also provides positive coping resources. It is an effective metacognitive exercise to de-center yourself and reduce rumination thoughts.

Ultimately, mindfulness opens a door to think about what happens in the here and now. It suspends the routine and automatic solutions that are the ones that usually prevent us from leaving the negative loop. The development of self-observation works in this same line, since it guides towards more creative, adaptive and less stereotyped outlets.