Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy MBCT
About the MBCT Course
The course was developed by Brenda from her training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The curriculum has been designed for the general public to assist participants in learning mindfulness based strategies and to establish a formal and informal practice in their everyday lives. This course is not therapy, but can be therapeutic and is suitable for all.
Purpose & Aims
The purpose is to teach participants how you can be more fully aware and present in each moment of your life. In essence, participants learn to be present in life just as it is, from a neutral perspective or non-judgmental perspective. This means whatever you are facing, even if it’s unpleasant, can be acknowledged and managed in the most effective way and in the long run, reduces unhappiness. As you begin to see unpleasant thoughts, feelings or experiences more clearly, you develop the ability to skillfully choose your response to them.
What To Expect
Learning mindfulness is not related to relaxation. Meditation can bring on feelings of relaxation and it may not. In fact, you may find that initially it is not relaxing and can be a bit stressful as you cultivate your non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. This may be based on your expectations or you could be trying too hard to achieve relaxation. The point of mindfulness is to be aware of what is present, just as it is, even if this is a feeling of unrest, tension or stress. Try to let go of any particular outcome or goal to the practice and approach things with a quality of curiosity and compassion.
It's About Skillful Responses
Learning mindfulness for the sake of relaxation can lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment if you cling to this expectation. You may start thinking that this isn’t working and this could leads to feelings that you are not doing this correctly, which leads to the feelings of stress. Mindfulness is learning to be in the present moment so you don’t get swept away by the habitual thinking patterns and you can more skillfully choose new responses.
The Paradox of Mindfulness
Participants naturally are seeking to make changes in their lives by learning to do things differently. This approach is about learning how to inhabit rather than to resolve. This may seem paradoxical, but essential what we are learning is how to deal with difficulties by changing our reactions and our relationship to them.
The Practice is the Teacher
It is helpful to understand that mindfulness is a mental discipline and is like building a muscle by training it to be stronger. Mindfulness is something you practice until it’s something you are. Home practice is an essential part of cultivating mindfulness and an essential part of the course. Each week we are working at changing habitual patterns of the mind that have been long established. Like any conditioned, learned behavior, repetition is the key to learning. Each week you will be assigned homework to practice in your own time. Participants are invited to practice in their own time, building up to a half hour each day over eight weeks. Tasks will include listening to guided meditations, performing exercises and keeping a journal.
Included in the workbook is the overview of each week, summary of the learning and practice points to do in your own time. Course includes handbook and guided meditation MP3s.
Read about benefits and evidence on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based training on Be Mindful’s website.
What You Will Learn
Included in the 8-weekly, 2-hour sessions you will learn a new technique or aspect of mindfulness:
Formal Practices: sitting, lying down, moving
Each week we learn according to a theme:
Week 1 – Introduction to Mindfulness and Waking Up From Automatic Pilot Mode
Participants will learn about the principles of mindfulness and key attitudinal foundations of mindfulness and how they can understand the purpose of mindfulness based living and how to move from automatic pilot mode into mindful awareness.
Week 2 – Relating Directly to Now
In the second week we are looking how you can directly connect with the present moment experience and the normal and natural barriers to cultivating mindfulness and how we can best overcome them.
Week 3 – Problem Solving Mindfully
Our minds are designed to search for solutions when we find ourselves in the midst of a problem. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting things to be better, but often we reject and resist to the point that we ruminate and the snowball effect happens and we create more suffering for ourselves.
Week 4 – Recognizing Aversion
Learning your aversion signature will give you space to respond instead of react to difficulty. Being in the present moment with non-judgmental awareness takes practice. This week participants learn strategies to being more mindfully aware of the present moment.
Week 5 – Exploring Acceptance
People often contribute acceptance with passivity, submission and resignation. This week we spend time learning and cultivating the key attitude of acceptance, allowing and willingness.
Week 6 – Thoughts Are Not Facts
Learning to live mindfully in the present moment means you change your relationship to your thinking and your thoughts. You begin to learn to look AT your thoughts rather than FROM your thoughts. Participants learn handy strategies for doing so. In addition, participants learn about the Observing Self.
Week 7 -Taking Care of Yourself
Mindfulness is about looking after yourself with self compassion. This week we work on how we can best take care of ourselves in a mindful way. This includes understand your basic human needs and learning how you can meet your needs in a friendly way.
Week 8 – Living Mindfully
Bringing together all the lessons from the previous weeks into how we can take what we’ve learned into all our future moments, mindfully. This includes understanding your vulnerable nature
Aims of Training in MBCT
Regulation of attention
Mindfulness begins by bringing awareness to current experience by observing and attending to the changing field of thoughts, feelings and sensations from moment to moment. This is a regulation of the focus of attention. This regulation of your attention is necessary component of mindfulness to fully experience the present moment as it is, through your sensory perceptions instead of through the lens of your thoughts and judgements about what you are experiencing. It involves a direct experience of events in the mind, body and outside world. Mindfulness is not a practice in suppressing or sanitizing thoughts but rather considered objects of observation not distraction.
Regulation of emotion
Regulation of emotion is taking a more mindful stance towards the direct experience of emotions rather than willful control or aversion tendencies. Being able to feel your feelings in a mindful way means you are limiting reactivity including the liability of personalization and identification of the experience. When you feel something, you acknowledge it in the moment and notice the actuality of how it feels without resistance, aversion or trying to change it. This also means you learn to bring a certain quality of attitude to the experience such as acceptance, compassion and kindness. This regulation helps with undoing rumination and aversion habits.
Awareness of the self is paying attention to contextualized self -- to observe the content of who you are and how you identify with your thoughts and feelings without being ruled by them. This is not like self consciousness of the self, but a skill to notice the story of who you think you are -- your identity. An example of this would be to think of who you were when you were a small child and think of who you are now. You are the same person but the context of self has changed over time as you identity of yourself has evolved depending on factors such as roles, responsibilities, names, geographic location etc. Awareness of the self is to understand that although you are yourself and all the changing content of your life, you are also the context which it unfolds.
Awareness of the body is paying attention to how your body feels and how it is in the present moment. This is not like self consciousness of the body, but a skill to feel changing sensations, such as tension, tightness and holding within the bustle internal landscape.