Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
One tool Shirley uses for depression is Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). This is a part of her integrative approach to therapy and healing.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a modified form of cognitive therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing exercises. Using these tools, she teaches clients how to break away from negative thought patterns that can cause a downward spiral into a depressed state so they will be able to fight off depression before it takes hold.
When is it used?
MBCT was developed for people with recurring episodes of depression or unhappiness, to prevent relapse. It has been proven effective in patients with major depressive disorder who have experienced at least three episodes of depression. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention may also be helpful for treating generalized anxiety disorders. MBCT has also been shown to improve symptoms of depression in some people with physical health conditions, such as vascular disease and traumatic brain injury.
How does it work?
Sometimes normal sadness is a powerful trigger for someone who has recovered from a depressive state to relapse into another bout of depression. Rather than try to avoid or eliminate sadness or other negative emotions, one learns to change their relationship with these emotions by practicing meditation and other mindfulness exercises. These activities re-balance neural networks, allowing the client to move away from automatic negative responses toward an understanding that there are other ways to respond to situations. By developing a routine meditation practice, clients can use the technique whenever they start to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. When sadness occurs and starts to bring up the usual negative associations that trigger relapse of depression, the client is equipped with tools that will help them replace negative thought patterns with positive.