Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Found Beneficial for People with Depression by Promoting Self Kindness

Recent research found that MBCT or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is able to encourage self-kindness in individuals with a history of depression by putting them in a state of relaxation and safety. 

The research was done by the University of Exeter as well as the Universities of Oxford and Magdeburg. 

It suggests that this therapy is helpful in dissolving the cycle of critical and negative thoughts and the feeling of worthlessness that often causes relapse in depressive individuals. 

What Type of Therapy Does MBCT Offer?

According to the authors, this study helps improve the understanding of how this therapy averts relapse in depressive patients. 

This group-based psychological therapy assists individuals in changing their thoughts and feelings about their experiences and teaches them valuable skills to lower the chance of depressive episodes in the future.

Available research notes that people with recurrent depression especially benefit from this therapy because it teaches them how to be more self-compassionate. Higher self-compassion is the capacity of a person to be kinder to themselves in times of struggle and stress. 

MBCT Offers Real Benefits for People with Recurrent Depression

In this recent study, the group of 50 people included individuals with remission from depression and ones with a chance of depressive relapse. Half of the individuals were tested prior to and after an eight-week MBCT treatment and their results were compared to the untreated 25 people with recurrent depression.

The untreated control group had bodily responses that indicated a more negative response to self-compassion meditation when they engaged in it for the second time.

For Dr. Hans Kirschner from the University of Magdeburg, the first author of the study, it’s very encouraging to see that MBCT can provide help for people with recurrent depression. They hope to strengthen the resilience of these patients and thus, minimize the risk of a relapse. 

However, more research is needed to test the idea formally. 

This study is a continuation of the previous research of the team which discovered that a short exercise for self-compassion can temporarily activate a self-kindness pattern and increase the feeling of safety in the patients.