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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
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Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy group for depression

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Combining ancient wisdom and 21st century science, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is proving to be a powerful tool to help prevent relapse in depression.

MBCT will help you to recognise your own early warning signs of stress/ low mood and how to ‘nip them in the bud’ through regular practice and new learning.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a translation of a word that means awareness. It involves paying attention to what’s going on inside your mind and body, and what’s going on in the outside world as well.

Much of the time our attention is caught up in our hopes or worries for the future (‘what if…?’) and our memories and regrets from the past (‘if only…’). This ‘mental time-travel’ takes us out of the present moment. Mindfulness helps us to reconnect with our experience in this moment, without judgment or harsh criticism. Mindful awareness helps us see with greater clarity how we may approach each moment skilfully, taking more pleasure in the good things that often go unnoticed or unappreciated, and dealing more effectively with the difficulties we encounter.

Mindfulness meditation

MBCT combines meditation practice with modern Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques, in an eight-week class format, together with daily home-practices. MBCT is recommended by the UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence and is as effective as antidepressants for preventing recurrent bouts of depression.

Mindfulness is traditionally cultivated by the practice of meditation in which people learn to pay attention in each moment with full intentionality and with friendly interest. Meditation is not about clearing the mind, but rather coming to see the mind’s patterns. Daily meditation practice allows people to see the way in which certain patterns of mind lead to escalation of emotions, despite our best efforts to control them. It also allows us to see more clearly what sorts of actions lead to more wholesome outcomes in everyday life.

When people practice mindfulness meditation for any length of time, a number of qualities of their experience change. People say they feel more aware or awake, feel calmer and are more able to see clearly and gain freedom from their own emotional patterns and habits. They feel freer to be more compassionate to themselves and to others.

Each MBCT course consists of eight weekly two-hour group sessions. There will be home practice for people to do in between sessions, which takes up to one hour a day. In the classes, you will experience core mindfulness practices (e.g. body scan, mindful movement, sitting meditation, three-minute breathing space), plus some theoretical teaching. There will be opportunities to talk about your experiences with these practices, the obstacles that inevitably arise, and how to deal with them skilfully. Each participant will receive guided meditation materials and session handouts.

The MBCT programme

Session 1: Awareness of automatic pilot

Session 2: Living in our heads

Session 3: Gathering the scattered mind

Session 4: Recognising aversion

Session 5: Allowing/ letting be

Session 6: Thoughts are not facts

Session 7: How can I best take care of myself?

Session 8: Maintaining and extending new learning

Designed specifically to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression to help prevent the depression from coming back, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale and based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme.

In MBCT you will learn:

  • to become familiar with the workings of your mind and body
  • to notice the times when you are at risk of getting caught in old habits of reacting that can keep you trapped in unhelpful patterns (self-criticism, rumination, worry, avoidance)
  • to explore ways of releasing yourself from these old habits
  • to develop skills in turning towards difficult experiences with acceptance and compassion, rather than getting stuck in trying to escape from them
  • to see unpleasant thoughts and feelings clearly as they arise, and ‘nip them in the bud’ before they can progress to more intense depressions or anxiety states
  • to use your increased awareness of the present as a springboard for making wiser choices in life
  • to be kind to yourself instead of wishing things were different all the time, or driving yourself to meet impossible goals
  • to accept yourself as you are, rather than battling with/ judging yourself all the time

How do I find out more?

If you feel this group is for you, call us on 01905 760837 to book an initial assessment with us. This 60 minute face to face appointment will enable us to find out if this is the right step for you.

Course dates

 Start date  Time  Location
 Tuesday 7 August  2pm - 4pm  Redditch
 Wednesday 19 September  2pm - 4pm  Kidderminster
 Wednesday 19 September  6pm - 8pm  Worcester