Tracing MBCT’s Journey: Origins, Evolution, and Clinical Landscape

Christine-Runyan
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School

Key Points

  1. MBCT, deriving its roots from MBSR, blends cognitive therapy techniques with mindfulness practices to treat a range of psychological conditions.
  2. The versatility of MBCT allows for its principles to be applied in group settings and individual therapy sessions.
  3. While effective for many, MBCT’s introspective nature calls for careful administration, especially among trauma survivors and those with a history of psychosis.
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The origins of MBCT trace back to a distinctive practice known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). In the late 1970s, Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School laid the groundwork for MBSR. Kabat-Zinn, a trained microbiologist with a profound meditation background, sought to help individuals experiencing chronic pain and physical conditions like psoriasis that were exacerbated by stress.

Through this endeavor, he introduced a secular eight-session program known as MBSR, designed to enhance the mind-body connection using mindfulness. Over the years, a wealth of research has pointed to the success of MBSR for both psychological and physical conditions.

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