Participants' experiences of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: "It changed me in just about every way possible"

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2009 Jul;37(4):413-30. doi: 10.1017/S135246580999004X. Epub 2009 Jun 10.


Background: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a promising approach to help people who suffer recurrent depression prevent depressive relapse. However, little is known about how MBCT works. Moreover, participants' subjective experiences of MBCT as a relapse prevention treatment remain largely unstudied.

Aim: This study examines participants' representations of their experience of MBCT and its value as a relapse-prevention program for recurrent depression.

Method: Twenty people who had participated in MBCT classes for recurrent depression within a primary care setting were interviewed 12 months after treatment. The focus of the interview was on participants' reflections on what they found helpful, meaningful and difficult about MBCT as a relapse prevention program. Thematic analysis was used to identify the key patterns and elements in participants' accounts.

Results and conclusions: Four overarching themes were extracted: control, acceptance, relationships and struggle. The theoretical, clinical and research implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care
  • Program Development
  • Rural Population
  • Secondary Prevention*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Semantics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urban Population

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN12720810