Mindfulness Therapy for Depression
Mindfulness therapy for treating depression is a relatively new approach. There is a growing body of research that supports mindfulness therapy as a way to treat the negative thought patterns associated with depression.
Depression is a major disorder affecting millions of individuals. It is a complex mental health disorder that requires intervention and treatment. A person might experience overwhelming sadness or feel empty inside. Many report depression as a “dark place” where there is no end in sight. Others experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and irritability to the point where the person is no longer able to enjoy activities or sleep well.
Mindfulness therapy is based on the tenets of cognitive therapy and is referred to as MBCT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Depression carries with it many negative thoughts and feelings generally directed toward the depressed individual. MBCT seeks to reduce these negative thoughts and feelings through education. Individuals are taught to disengage from this negative way of thinking and feeling and to re-engage with life as it occurs in the moment.
Many people who experience depression can be caught up in the what ifs of the future and the what happened of the past. This pattern of thinking can perpetuate depression into a vicious cycle of never-ending hopelessness or believing that nothing will ever change.
MBCT involves a series of therapy sessions where the therapist focuses on what is occurring at this moment. If the individual’s mind starts to wander toward the what ifs, the therapist will bring them back to the moment through focused breathing or maybe participating in a stretching exercise. The focus of MBCT is on mindfulness exercises including body awareness, yoga, and daily homework exercises designed to keep the individual mindful of each moment and paying attention to what they are doing in each moment.
MBCT does show support in treating depression and can be helpful in preventing relapse of depressive symptoms. Some studies have indicated that MBCT has the same effect as some medications used for treating depression. The exact mechanism behind how MBCT works is not fully known; however, it does help to assist the individual in becoming aware of and observing thoughts that occur throughout the day. Mindfulness might lead a person to experience compassion for the self and decrease avoiding experiences that are uncomfortable.
Through focus on the moment and acceptance of the moment, awareness of one’s feelings and thoughts can become known and can prevent one from having wandering thoughts about the future. The focus is on the here and now and one can learn the experience of truly living in the moment.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.