Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

November 30, 2015 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a mindfulness-based intervention designed to help individuals who have suffered serious depression learn skills that decrease the likelihood of depression coming back. Research studies have proven its effectiveness in limiting the risk of further episodes of depression, and there is growing evidence that it is also helpful for those in the midst of a period of depression or who struggle with anxiety.

MBCT integrates principles of cognitive therapy into an eight week program with many similarities to MBSR. It was developed in the 1990’s by Drs. Zindel Segal from the University of Toronto, Mark Williams from Oxford University, and John Teasdale of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, in conjunction with John Kabat-Zinn and others from the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. Since 2004 MBCT has been endorsed by the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence as an effective means for prevention of relapse and recurrence of serious depression.

The next MBCT class will take place on Thursday evenings, February 11 through March 31, with a daylong retreat on Saturday, March 19, and will be taught by David Silver, M.D. Participants in the course will learn mindfulness skills in a supportive environment, with instruction, practice together, discussion, and time to address the challenges that come up when dealing with depression or anxiety, and when learning new tools to address these difficult emotions.

What participants in previous MBCT courses at UVA had to say as the class ended:

  • “I have felt my mind change—it feels like a physical change—in the course of the class. It feels stronger and more resilient and that’s priceless.”
  • “This class has given me hope that if or when I start to slide back into a hole again, I’ll have tools to help forestall the slide . . . I feel encouraged I can be in control of myself again and the thought of being kind and gentle to myself—I loved that!”
  • This course has shown me a new way of living—a life-changing shift in perception. Being on this journey with others was invaluable.”
  • “This has been a life-opening experience. I feel grateful, nourished, and equipped with resources and tools that I can add to and use for rest of my life. I am very grateful.”
  • “The course exposed me to a completely new way of approaching day-to-day living . . . The notion of being able to formally take a time out from “doing mode” to assess a situation seems very powerful . . .”
  • “I’ve learned that I am not alone.”
  • “This course is one of the two most important things I’ve ever done for myself. One is going on antidepressant medications—those saved my life. Two, and just as important, is this course. It is helping me realize a better quality to my life. I am learning that what I need I already have within me. That is huge!”

“I feel like the importance of the program will continue to reveal itself to me, as time moves on . . . I imagine and hope that the things I’ve learned—how to meditate, new ways to think and to approach my feelings, thoughts, etc. will prove very helpful . . . David is outstanding, a gentle, caring, sensitive, perceptive, patient person—just the sort of leader for this kind of work, and this collection of good and challenged people.”

Feb. 11 – March 11
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: A Place to Breathe
4405 Ivy Commons, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Daylong retreat: Saturday, March 19

For registration please visit

Filed Under: Monthly Musings