When people seek treatment for substance use disorder, it’s important that they get customized care. As part of that, they’ll receive a combination of therapeutic services to help them overcome substance use. Cognitive therapy is a very common evidence-based strategy that’s effective and versatile. However, mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) combines this evidence-based approach with holistic principles.

About MBCT

Along with cognitive therapy, MBCT uses meditation and mindfulness to help people overcome problems. Understanding this approach, though, requires learning about cognitive therapy and mindfulness.

Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that works on the basis that thoughts affect people’s moods. For example, those who have negative thoughts will have negative emotions. As a result, they can develop destructive mental and behavioral health problems, such as substance use disorder.

During cognitive therapy, the goal is to help people recognize negative patterns. Then, they learn how to replace them with positive thoughts that lead to positive emotions. This process allows them to heal.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy adds meditation and mindfulness to this process. Mindfulness involves cultivating a nonjudgmental attitude. These holistic practices also help people focus on what’s happening in the present. For these reasons, they supplement cognitive therapy very well.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy History

Zindel Segal, John Teasdale and Mark Williams developed MBCT during the early 2000s. They expanded on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). This program helps people deal with the physical and mental effects of anxiety, panic, pain and other health problems.

Also, the doctors expanded on the interactive cognitive subsystems (ICS) model that Teasdale and Philip Barnard developed. It works on the basis that the mind receives and processes information in two different modes. As such, the state of mental health could depend on the ability of people to switch between these modes.

Segal, Teasdale and Williams incorporated these principles into their mindfulness based cognitive therapy program. Instead of treating a wide range of conditions, they targeted depression to promote a lasting emotional change in people. Research also shows that mindfulness training promotes good health, decreased stress and improved emotional control. Because of that, many experts use MBCT as an effective tool to reduce cravings in people with substance use disorder.

How MBCT Works

A mental health facility might use the mindfulness based cognitive therapy program on its own. However, an addiction treatment center will use it alongside other therapies.

a woman meditating during mindfulness based cognitive therapy

During mindfulness based cognitive therapy, people learn how to be aware of their feelings and thoughts. They learn how not to judge their thoughts and feelings or get caught up in “what ifs.” As a result, they can let go of negative thoughts rather than let them control their moods.

MBCT Techniques

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is a group program that includes one, two-hour session every week for eight weeks. Outside of the sessions, the participants complete a 45-minute assignment each day. In general, the homework consists of listening to recordings and practicing mindfulness meditation. Furthermore, therapists encourage people to incorporate a three-minute breathing space into their everyday lives.

Get Tailored Treatment at Authentic Recovery Center

Do you want help for a substance use disorder? At Authentic Recovery Center, we’ll customize your 12-step treatment according to your needs. In fact, we use cognitive therapy and mindfulness training to help you achieve and maintain recovery. Some of the other programs and services that we offer include:

In addition, Authentic Recovery Center offers treatment for co-occurring disorders. It involves addressing any other mental issues that you have alongside addiction. Some examples include anxiety, depression, trauma and eating disorders.

Put an end to the destructive cycle that negative thoughts cause in your life. Learn how to be aware of and control them through mindfulness based cognitive therapy. Contact Authentic Recovery Center at 866.256.0051 for more information.