MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) via Telehealth
What is MBCT
MBCT or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy originated in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in the work of the scientist Jon Kabat-Zin who commenced a program for chronic pain patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Subsequently, a group of three psychologists (Williams,Teasdale, Segal) working with Kabat-Zinn developed the MBCT techniques for people with depressive disorders. This was introduced for wider use in the early 1990’s and has been widely taken and expanded to include, other conditions such as anxiety disorders, bipolar mood disorder and ADHD.
Mindfulness is a practice, which has been called different names in different contemplative traditions and has been in use for thousands of years. In its most common form it is called meditation. In this course we use the most useful aspects of meditation at it applies to dealing with mental distress.
MBCT and Mednet Australia
Currently, we offer individual sessions for referred patients who are eligible for Telehealth consultations (there may be group sessions available in future for a fee). Depending on the clinician, the individual sessions may or may not attract a Medicare rebate.
There will be an initial period in which the clinician selects patients who are suitable and educates the patient about MBCT. Prior to commencing the course, you will be introduced to the first exercise (Body Scan), which can be practiced for about a week.
Subsequently you are expected to attend on a weekly basis to take part in the course with a trained clinician. Each session will last 45-60 minutes and the course will be 8 weeks in duration, with once weekly meetings with the clinician and individual practice in between.
Purchasing the following books by the originators of MBCT may be helpful for those who do the course:
What Happens in a MBCT session?
When a session commences the leader (clinician) will usually commence the first exercise as soon as you arrive. Bells may be used as a cue for commencing and ending a session (e.g. a signal to be silent and listen and to cease the silence when completed).
There may be several such exercises during such a session. In between exercises there will be discussion about your experience and reference to other material on the web pages associated with this course.
At the end of each session you will be provided instructions for homework tasks for the next week or so. The material associated with these tasks and extra educational material will be available for download through a web portal. Each session will be associated with a web page, which will direct you to files to download.
The audio files, which you will use to practice your meditation, will also be available through the web portal.
Evidence Base for Utility of MBCT in Mental Health
The most significant evidence for usefulness of MBCT in mental health has been in relapse prevention.
While the initial evidence for the utility of mindfulness was in management of intractable chronic pain, later studies in mental illness have consistently demonstrated that mindfulness is helpful in relapse prevention. Some of these studies were controlled studies adding validity to this initial finding. More recently, a trail has even demonstrated that mindfulness (MBCT) to be as effective as medication in the treatment of mid-moderate depression. This would place MBCT as a treatment equivalent to CBT. However, there would need to be replication of this study before such a conclusion can be drawn.