The benefits of MBCT for Health Professionals – the evidence

– MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) integrates mindfulness meditation with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
– originally used to prevent depressive relapse
– now being used in the treatment & management of bipolar disorder, anxiety, mixed anxiety & depressive symptoms, disordered eating, personality disorders & psychosis
– article reflects on theories for why MBCT works & “dosage” requirements of meditative practice so as to produce benefit or individuals [note: the core mechanisms if change regarding mindfulness practice are still not definitive, but some research cites dosage requirements if 3 or more times per week in the long-term (12 months plus) to mitigate against the possible relapse of depression]
– MBCT involves
– teaching foundation skills of mindfulness (such as body scan, walking meditation, breath meditation, yoga, 3 minute breathing space & mindful eating)
– reflecting upon direct experience (mindfully, self- compassionately, & non-judgmentally)
– CBT: responding realistically & more effectively, decreasing reactivity to depressive thoughts, understanding personal warning signs/triggers, & developing a specific action plan [based on CBT & psychoeducational strategies]

MBCT has been taught to health-care professionals & students as an intervention to reduce stress & increase clinical skill (while increasing self-compassion & decreasing rumination & negative affect)
– article cites research supporting sleep benefits, decreasing dysfunctional attitudes (including health anxiety)
– article cites research supporting positive benefits of CBT in treating panic disorder, social anxiety, & PTSD.

Source: Mercalf, C.A., & Dimidjian, S. (2014). Extensions & Mechanisms of MBCT: A review of the evidence. Australian Psychologust, 49, 271-279.


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