MBCT: Clinical Applications for Anxiety and Depression

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is a multifaceted construct that envelops concepts including nonjudgement, acceptance, present awareness, attention and intention. These components are required to be present in order to experience mindfulness, Ivanovski and Mahli (2007).

Individuals are invited to experience the present moment in a different way. Unlike CBT which views reality from a cognitive process model, MBCT embodies cognition by processing incoming information through the body. Embodied cognition integrates the experience of body, mind and world, illuminating the effect each has on the other. Consequently this influences the type of mind we choose to have, Craig (2004).

Provisional timetable
09:30 Registration/tea and coffee
10:00 Workshop starts (there will be a break for lunch)
16:00 Workshop ends


Mindfulness based approaches form the 'third wave' of cognitive behavioural therapies. All emphasise mindfulness as a core component in understanding, and relating differently to, damaging cognitive, emotional and behavioural patterns. These therapies aim to increase awareness and acceptance of difficulty so that lives are lived more skilfully.

Meditation in MBCT involves paying attention in the present moment regardless of the negative experience that arises, be it thought, sensation, emotion or memory. This strategy reduces behavioural avoidance and negative affect, allowing for the acceptance of negative experience. Consistent with CBT, mindful attention creates a desensitisation mechanism which decreases negative affect and may improve psychological health, Allen et al (2006).

The attitudinal foundation of mindfulness practice includes, non-judging, patience, beginners mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go. As awareness increases, internal balance is restored and clients can live healthier and more adaptive lives, Kabat-Zinn (1996). It was suggested by Safran and Segal (1990) that psychological change can occur when ‘decentering’ from negative thought. This allows a person to become objective about their experience and reconnect with the present moment.

Research has shown during periods of depression, negative mood occurs along with negative thinking and fatigue. When the depressive episode abates, and mood returns to normal, the negative thinking and fatigue tend also to abate. However a connection has formed between mood and negative thinking patterns. This connection is important as low mood reactivates ruminative thought patterns creating vulnerability to further episodes of depression.

MBCT helps shift to an alternative mode of mind by changing mental gears, moving from a mode of mind coloured by critical thinking to a mode of mind in which we experience the world directly, non-conceptually, and non-judgementally.

It is for this reason that it is an essential requirement of MBCT teachers to maintain a regular meditation practice. Practitioner commitment to practice is vital to patient participation. A practitioner is unlikely to be able to properly understand or teach the practice without having substantially experienced it themselves. The teacher of mindfulness may be ‘teaching without words’ by their modelling of mindfulness as they run the group, Allen et al (2006). This is at odds with the CBT tradition which does not expect clinicians to engage in regular CBT interventions in order to practice CBT methods, Baer 2003.

Learning outcomes and objectives

  • To teach the psychological theory of MBCT
  • To illustrate the implementation of psychological theory in the MBCT approach
  • To offer an experiential practice of MBCT
  • To enhance knowledge in the origin of MBCT
  • To increase knowledge in the current research of MBCT for anxiety and depression
  • To gain awareness of embodied cognition and the importance of MBCT facilitators to be an embodiment of the practice.

Facilitator: Lisa Harrison CPsychol AFBPsS

Lisa is a Chartered Psychologist, and registered Counselling psychologist working with clients that have severe/chronic adult mental health problems with forensic histories. She provides both cognitive and clinical assessment, formulation and treatment of adult mental health disorders. She provides expert witness assessment and treatment to the court. She has expertise in working with anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD and BPD. Her area of specialty is mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

She has trained in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programme at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine. Subsequently, she has completed a Mindfulness teacher training intensive at the Centre for Mindfulness, Research and Practice at the University of Bangor, North Wales. Most recently she completed her post qualification Masters in MBCT with Professor Mark Williams and colleagues at the University of Oxford.

Lisa provides clinical supervision and training to psychologists and allied mental health professionals. She previously worked in NHS adult mental health services for seven years before broadening her clinical work to low secure forensic settings and independent practice. She has ten years post qualification experience in adult mental health.

Booking information


  • Non-Society Member: £288
  • Society Member: £204
  • DCoP Member: £156
  • Concession: £132

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii (studying in the UK and not subject to income tax), Rule 21 (retired) members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.

How to book:

Please note: online bookings will close 24 hours prior to the event. Please call +44 (0)116 2529512 for availability after this point.

To pay by cheque or request an invoice complete and return the registration form.

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests at least 6 weeks before the event date.

Fri, 27/09/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

Division of Counselling Psychology & BPS Learning Centre