MBCT – What is the Evidence?

MBCT is based on the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) eight week programme, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy grew from this work and was initially adapted by Mark Williams, Zindel Segal and John Teasdale to incorporate our knowledge of a treatment widely respected (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). MBCT employs the same structure of the MBSR but has been refined as to incorporate elements of CBT, making it clinically effective not only for personal development and the management of stress, but also for the treatment of maintaining factors that lead to mental health problems (namely rumination and worry).

Only trained therapists with a core professional practice (CBT therapists, Clinical / Counselling Psychologist with training in CBT) can ethically deliver MBCT practices. The delivery of this programme requires specialist training, ongoing continuous professional development and attaining to ethical and professional guidelines, including regular clinical supervision.


The Mindfulnesss Based Cognitive Therapy Programme (MBCT)

Evidence from clinical trials across the globe is compelling, and whilst more trials are needed, the case for mindfulness is growing by the day.

There’s increasing evidence that MBCT can help to reduce our anxiety levels and teach us new ways to manage stress. The results of various clinical studies and research speak for themselves, highlighting benefits such as:

– A 70 per cent reduction in anxiety
– Fewer visits to your GP
– An ongoing reduction in anxiety three years after taking an MBCT course
– An increase in disease-fighting antibodies, suggesting improvements to the immune system
– Longer and better quality sleep, with fewer sleep disturbances
– A reduction in negative feelings like anger, tension and depression
– Improvements in physical conditions as varied as psoriasis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The evidence in support of MBCT is so strong that almost three-quarters of GPs think it would be beneficial for all patients to learn mindfulness meditation skills.

(source: The Mental Health Foundation – www.bemindful.co.uk )

Many people speak positively about how MBCT has transformed their lives, and clinical research has proven that it can benefit people suffering from recurrent depression and other clinically diagnosed mental health problems. In fact, the evidence is so robust that the National Institute for Clinical and Health Excellence (NICE) recommends it for all people who have had two or more depressive episodes.


MBCT is more effective than maintenance doses of antidepressants in preventing a relapse in depression.
Three-quarters of people taking an MBCT course alongside antidepressants were able to come off their medication within 15 months.
MBCT can also reduce the severity of symptoms for people who are experiencing an episode of depression.


MBCT has been shown to reduce insomnia in people with anxiety disorders.

People who are more mindful have greater self-esteem and feel less neurotic.
Meditation-based practices like mindfulness reduce people’s dependence on alcohol, caffeine, prescription medication and illegal drugs.


MBCT programmes should only be run by clinicians with a background and training in Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy. MBCT is a treatment of choice recommended by the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence)

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