Melbourne Mindfulness Training
Mindfulness involves paying attention to each event experienced in the present moment within our body and mind, with a non-judgmental, non-reactive and accepting attitude. In learning to be mindful, we can begin to counter many of our everyday sufferings such as stress, anxiety and depression because we are learning to experience events in a more impersonal and detached way.
What is MiCBT?
There are a growing number of therapy approaches that incorporate mindfulness training. Mindfulness-integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or MiCBT is one of these approaches. It offers a practical set of evidence-based techniques derived from mindfulness training together with principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to address a broad range of psychological disorders and general stress conditions. Below is a brief overview of the foundations of MiCBT as well as the core mechanisms and basic practice components of this valuable therapeutic approach.
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“Our reaction to unhappiness can transform what might otherwise be a brief, passing sadness, into persistent dissatisfaction and unhappiness”
What is CBT?
The way we think often affects our emotions and behaviour and CBT or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helps people with such conditions as anxiety and depression change the content of unhelpful thoughts and their maladaptive ways of coping, such as avoidance or addictive behaviour.
MiCBT: Integrating Mindfulness and CBT
MiCBT is a 4-stage therapeutic approach which integrates mindfulness and some of the basic principles of CBT in order to help people improve the way they feel and change unhelpful behaviours. However, MiCBT helps people make changes in a different way to CBT. While CBT attempts to change maladaptive behaviour by modifying people’s unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, MiCBT helps people learn to develop control over the processes that maintain the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs through mindfulness training. MiCBT helps change the process of thinking, not just the content of our thoughts.
The four stages are:
Stage 1: Mindfulness skills are taught to improve our understanding of thoughts and body sensations.
Stage 2: We learn how to apply these skills to the challenges of human life.
Stage 3: Specifically engages the mindfulness skills in interpersonal and relationship issues.
Stage 4: Deals with empathic understanding of ourselves and others.
Benefits of MiCBT
Changing Reactive Habits
Changing unhelpful or unwanted habits becomes easier as mindfulness skills are consolidated and integrated into daily life. We learn to understand and accept the process of thinking and sensing and to have a different perspective on troublesome thoughts and reactions.
Like CBT, MiCBT draws on the principles of exposure and desensitization to help us change habitual unhelpful reactions or coping strategies. However, unlike other models of cognitive-behaviour therapy, MiCBT regards learned reactive habits as being the result of our own way of reacting towards the body sensations that result from our judgmental thoughts. Preventing such reactions, while remaining fully aware and accepting of bodily experiences, leads to rapid change in our habitual feelings and behaviors. We feel emotionally relieved.
MiCBT not only helps people change distressing thoughts, feelings and behaviours, it can also help people change their relationships with others. The skills we learn in MiCBT can help us not to react to others and foster a greater understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others. This usually culminates in more harmonious relationships and helps prevent relapse into habitual moods and behaviour. This is explained during Stage 3 of the program.
Mindfulness and the Power of Empathy
The fourth stage of MiCBT teaches people to use their own resources for empathy towards themselves and others. The three previous stages lead to the realization that we are the first beneficiary of the emotions we produce, whether this is a positive or negative emotion. A deep sense of empowerment, acceptance and change usually takes place at the end of Stage 4, which is the last stage of the MiCBT program.
“When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within”
Clinical Evidence for MiCBT
There is growing clinical evidence that the development and use of mindfulness in daily life enhances many aspects of health – both physical and psychological. Studies have shown improvement in levels of stress, anxiety and depression as well as improvements in a range of psychological disorders. There is new evidence of benefits to physical health including the Immune system, Cardiovascular system, Eating disorders and many more…
For more information on the benefits of MiCBT please contact our friendly team on (03) 9894 0014 or ask us a question using the form below.