What Is Mindfulness-Based Therapy?

Updated August 4, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Feeling depressed and generally unhappy with your life is very difficult. When you are feeling down low, it is very tough to imagine yourself getting back to a happy place. Depression is something that has the potential to sap your energy completely, and it can leave you with no motivation to do the things that used to be important to you. If you are feeling deeply depressed right now, then you may be searching for methods of therapy that can help you to reclaim your life.

I Feel Depressed And Nothing Seems To Be Working

One method of therapy that has had great success in helping patients to battle depression is mindfulness-based therapy. This type of therapy is specifically designed to help people who experience chronic depression or other types of unhappiness. It is a fairly unique brand of therapy that offers many advantages and benefits. To fully understand what mindfulness therapy brings to the table, you need to examine it from all of the possible angles.

How Does Mindfulness Therapy Work?

The way that mindfulness therapy works is that it trains you to react to things differently. People who become depressed often go into these depressive states due to a sort of automatic reaction. Something negative happens in a person's life, and they are forced into a depressive state in response to this event. The way that mindfulness-based therapy works are that it shows you how to react when these events occur.

This process is commonly referred to as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. It involves changing your cognition of the way that events are occurring. Instead of automatically responding to events in your life, you can learn to observe them simply. It is important to avoid reacting to incoming stimuli right away. Instead, you can simply accept what is happening and observe it.

It allows patients to accept what is going on in their lives without resorting to making snap judgments. Many people who are prone to depressive episodes respond to events critically, and often they resort to self-criticism or wind up feeling deeply sorrowful. When patients can make use of mindfulness therapy, they can start to look at things more objectively. Instead of going straight into negative emotions, it is possible to take a more measured approach and look at the situation as a whole.

Of course, accomplishing this may not be easy at first. It is something that gives patients the chance to change the way they look at the world, but it is usually best done with the help of a therapist. A therapist can guide a patient through mindfulness therapy to help them avoid the pitfalls that lead them toward depression. Once the patient has shown progress and understands how to change their thought process, it becomes possible to use these methods to avoid falling into a depressed state.

Does Mindfulness-Based Therapy Truly Work?

Studies have shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy methods can produce positive results. Patients have responded to these treatments faster, and it has helped to improve the lives of many who experience depression. Various studies have been held that test the viability of this therapy method. All of them have found that mindful therapy offers promising results.

If traditional counseling and therapy methods have not been working for you, then using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be a good idea. It can help many patients to make progress, and some have reported having an easier time avoiding relapse. It can also be enjoyed individually or in a group setting. One of the most significant problems with severe depression is that it can come back after a certain amount of time. Many patients who make use of the mindfulness-based therapy methods report fewer relapses into a depressive state.

The goal of most mindfulness-based cognitive therapy treatment plans is going to be to show you what depression truly is. A therapist is going to work side-by-side with you to help you understand what depression is on a deeper level. They can work with you so that you can figure out what triggers bouts of depression for you. The treatments will also help you to determine why you stay stuck in these depressive bouts for long periods.

Once things have been examined objectively, it is going to be much easier to come up with a logical way to avoid depression. The mindfulness therapy will help you to see that there is a connection between your depression and unrealistic expectations. Often, people judge themselves too harshly, and it winds up leading to severe mental trauma.

Using Mindfulness Therapy Effectively

Using mindfulness therapy effectively is going to help you to lead a happier life. Depression is a serious health problem, and it can put you in a bad place. Thankfully, this therapy method can help you in many practical ways. As mentioned above, people often judge themselves harshly, and this will lead to bouts of depression.

A mindfulness-based cognitive therapist is going to be able to help you see where you are going wrong. Your thought processes are often causing these severe depressive episodes. Thoughts of not being good enough or feelings of not being as capable as others will hold you back in life. Mindfulness therapists will work with you to help you avoid judging yourself based on the successes of others. You also need to avoid putting yourself into situations where you are always pressured or overworked and reducing your interpersonal effectiveness.

Happiness is difficult to maintain when you are under constant stress. Working with your therapist to understand the different triggers and factors in your life that contribute to depression is essential. They will be able to talk things through with you to help you see the positive things in life again. Depression often causes people to lose touch with what is truly important in life. If mindful therapy can help you to re-connect with what makes you happy, then it is truly going to be worthwhile.

People often wonder the following questions about this technique:

What is mindfulness therapy used for?

Mindfulness therapy can be used for anything from general stress that you’d encounter in daily life or from mental health conditions, like severe depression, anxiety disorders, and even borderline personality disorder. Some people can even use mindfulness practices to help them cope with chronic pain.

What type of therapy is mindfulness?

Mindfulness therapy is considered a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, hence why it’s often referred to as mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). When combined with talk therapy, mindfulness techniques aim to redirect a client’s attention to the present moment rather than on their distressing thoughts, and it can help keep them from responding to their thoughts how they normally would. Since mindfulness practices involve making changes to an individual’s thoughts and behaviors, it can be grouped in with cognitive behavior therapy.

However, mindfulness interventions are also often associated with other psychological stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation programs and deep breathing exercises that can be used independently of any kind of talk therapy.

What are some examples of mindfulness-based therapies?

Some examples of mindfulness practices you can use in cognitive therapy include focusing on controlling your breathing, doing a body scan, and stretching because it shifts your attention towards physical sensations that are happening at the present moment while allowing your thoughts to pass without judgment. Mindfulness meditation and yoga are also engaging ways to practice it.

Is mindfulness the same as CBT?

Mindfulness techniques are not the same as CBT, but they can be closely related. Cognitive behavioral therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices is known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy has its own techniques, like cognitive restructuring, that may or may not utilize mindfulness for distress tolerance, but when they’re used together with the guidance of a mental health professional, mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can be an extremely effective way to overcome most conditions.

Is mindfulness good for anxiety?

Absolutely! When you’re feeling anxious, you can use your mindfulness training to distract yourself from your anxious thoughts anytime and anywhere outside of your talk therapy sessions.

What are the three components of mindfulness?

The three components of mindfulness are:

  1. Intention
  2. Attention
  3. Attitude

Essentially, this means when an individual wants to incorporate mindfulness practices they will deliberately pay attention to the present and will not label their thoughts as good or bad. This is the non-judgemental approach that is emphasized in clinical psychology, health education, and by mental health professionals all over the world.

What is the theory behind mindfulness?

The theory behind mindfulness based practices is that it works as a powerful form of emotional regulation. When we’re feeling anxious or dealing with recurrent depression, or chronic, physical pain, to name a few examples, it can be easy to get trapped in negative thinking behavior patterns that persist as long as an individual focuses on them.

By utilizing mindfulness practices, people can focus on their surroundings and physical sensations instead, and when combined with other relaxation training techniques, people suffering from distressing thoughts can quickly find themselves calmer.

How do you incorporate mindfulness in therapy?

Mindfulness exercises are simple to utilize in any kind of therapy, not just mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). All you need to do to learn mindfulness is pay attention to the three components and apply it with the specific therapy you’re using - it can be cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, group therapy, couples counseling, or anything!

Is mindfulness therapy evidence based?

The concept of mindfulness was originally developed thousands of years ago and its efficacy has been well-known including in modern times. A systematic review of mindfulness based interventions like mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) examined a randomized controlled trial for each of them in a clinical setting showed that both strategies can be effective for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Notably, the randomized clinical trial showed that mindfulness based stress reduction was effective for preventing relapses and its principles, with some modification led to the development of mindfulness based relapse prevention (MBRP).

Is mindfulness an effective treatment for depression?

Research shows, including the randomized controlled trial mentioned above, that learning mindfulness, especially when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, is effective in treating depression.

On its own, cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most researched therapy techniques out there and it’s proven to be effective and used by millions of mental health professionals, so when CBT incorporates mindfulness techniques to form mindfulness based cognitive therapy, people give themselves another tool to overcoming depression or any mental health condition.

Being able to see the world more clearly is one of the biggest benefits of this therapy method. Depression and general unhappiness will sometimes make you feel as if your vision is clouded. You will not be able to see things properly, and this can cause you to make unwise decisions. You do not have to keep losing touch with reality like this when there are mindfulness-based therapists who are ready to assist you.

Many different therapists practice this type of therapy. It is just one therapy method that has proven to be effective when treating severe depression. Sometimes a combination of different therapy methods may be necessary to get the best results. Your therapists and doctors may wish to combine this approach with professional medical advice and other methods such as medications to get your mental health on the right track.

If you are feeling down, then you should consider reaching out for help. Being mired in depression is not easy for anyone to deal with. It is even tougher when you feel as if you are facing things alone. Contacting a therapist today can allow you to change things around, and it will truly be a worthwhile experience.

Online Therapy Options Are Available

I Feel Depressed And Nothing Seems To Be Working

Those who wish to seek out therapy will sometimes stop themselves out of fear. If leaving your house to seek therapy is something that feels like too big of a step for you to make at this time, then you should know that there are options. It is possible to seek out online therapy to get the help that you need. You can speak to a licensed and qualified therapist at any time if you choose to go this route.

Online therapy gives you the same great advice and care that traditional therapy methods do. The difference is that this method is a lot more convenient for most people. You do not have to worry about trying to adapt your schedule to meet up with your therapist. Online therapy allows you to speak to a therapist whenever it is convenient for you to do so.

Signing up for online therapy is remarkably simple too. You will not have to take much of your time to get things started. These compassionate therapists will be ready to use mindfulness-based methods to help you out. You can work on defeating your depression and getting to a healthy place in life once more.

Being able to reach out for therapy discreetly is hugely beneficial as well. If you are nervous about having people know that you are seeking therapy, then the online option is perfect for your situation. Therapy sessions are nothing to be embarrassed about, but online therapy is easy to conceal. You will be able to get help without the need to advertise what is going on. Your friends, family, and colleagues do not have to know about the therapy sessions unless you choose to open up to them about what is going on.

If you are feeling the need to reach out to a therapist, then going the online route may be your best bet. It will always be a convenient way to get help. There are many different types of therapy available as well, and many people simply need someone to talk to. Take your time to consider what you want to do and know that there are caring professionals out there who want the best for you.

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