Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - an Overview - Part 1
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Barry Hill BS3 (MBACP, Mindfulness, Stress, CBT, Dip.Couns, Bereavement)
9th August, 2007
AN INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS-BASED COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY - Part 1
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is "a system of psychotherapy that attempts to reduce excessive emotional reactions and self-defeating behaviour by modifying the faulty or erroneous thinking and maladaptive beliefs that underlie these reactions" (Beck (et al, 1993)
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or MCBT, integrates the practice of Mindfulness with the principles of CBT.
Comprehensive information can be found on the MCBT website: www.mindfulness.net.au and in the UK, the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice: ww.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness
In brief, MCBT is based on the idea that in order to recognise and modify unhelpful thoughts, we have to understand and have some control over the processes in our Mind which produce them; “we cannot change a problem with the means that created it” (Einstein).
While Mindfulness is rooted in many spiritual disciplines, notably Buddhism, the Mindfulness Practice can be effectively learned and applied in its own right without involvement in any religion.
In CBT we are encouraging clients and patients to become aware of their thoughts, to concentrate on their thinking patterns so that they can begin to learn how to take control of the unhelpful thoughts and eventually introduce more helpful thoughts into their minds. But how can this happen if the mind is continually distracted? How can the monkey settle on one particular piece of fruit if he is being continually seduced away by other more juicy fruits?
Mindfulness Practice proposes that we can take control over how our own Mind works by actually practising looking at our thoughts with growing interest and acceptance; understanding how our Mind works, how thoughts are created from each other, the predominance of certain thought trends or foci.
Ultimately, after a regular practice, perhaps 20 minutes a day for a few months, it becomes possible to create more and more of a ‘choice’ about whether we want to follow a particular thought pattern or thought emphasis. We learn to observe what is actually happening in our Mind, to accept in a spirit of kindness towards ourselves that this is what is happening, this is the actual state of our Mind, then begin to work positively with our distractions as we gain more and more choice and control over what happens in our minds.
For someone working in CBT, practicing Mindfulness will help them know their Mind and how their unhelpful thoughts are actually being created. They will not only be able to change the unhelpful thoughts, but also change the very process that produces the thoughts in the first place. This is like a doctor who looks at the someone ‘s whole way of life in order to understand the root of why their knee is sore; rather than just treating the sore knee in isolation.
(Part 2 - A back ground to the Mindfulness Practice and Part 3 - how to practice Mindfulness will be published in coming weeks)
Related articles from our experts
Toby Messer Ad Dip PCAugust 16th, 2017
Sian Maman BSc (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy MBACPAugust 16th, 2017
Joan Doherty Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist, UKCPAugust 15th, 2017
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.