Mindfulness Integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (MiCBT) is a proactive style of therapy which draws upon the principals of both Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness. Both practices have demonstrated benefits in treating psychological disorders and improving overall well-being.
Whether you’re looking to take mental health issues into your own hands or simply proactively manage your mindset, MiCBT has something to offer everyone. It is guided by evidence-based techniques and can address a broad range of psychological disorders and stress disorders.
A growing number of approaches to therapy are incorporating mindfulness training, as it is a genuinely powerful exercise. With practice, it can radically change the way we feel and behave every day.
Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and bringing awareness into our mind and body. Often this happens by paying close attention to the breath, as you feel your lungs fill and notice your chest rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. Thoughts may come and go, but each time attention is gently directed back to the breath.
By doing this, we begin to perceive thoughts, feelings and events in a non-judgmental way. They are accepted as is, rather than labelled or resisted. More specifically, a fleeting thought is recognised as an impermanent mental event, rather than a direct reflection of who we are as individuals. This frame of mind allows us to detach from our complex sense of self or ego, and process situations from a more grounded perspective.
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 much more…
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a technique which analyses the way our thoughts influence our emotions, attitudes and our behaviour. It focuses on how we can transform unhelpful thoughts into productive ones, which regulate our emotions and coping mechanisms.
The technique “unpacks” thoughts, feelings and reactions to better the understand the root cause of our behaviour. In a day-to-day context, next time you notice yourself reacting without thinking something through, take the time to reflect upon the emotions which influenced your behaviour and why you were experiencing these emotions in the first place. By developing this kind of self-awareness, we can distance ourselves from our reactions and cultivate healthy attitudes and social skills. This approach can be applied to general situations, addressing general behavioural issues, or specific contexts and specific mental health disorders.
Mindfulness Integrated Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Vital Chi Wellness encourages patients to take a proactive approach to stress management amidst the various pressures of modern day life. Through MiCBT, we can reshape the way we view ourselves and situations and in turn address disorders or maladaptive behaviours, such as addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and even just social anxiety.
MiCBT helps people make changes in a different way to CBT alone. While CBT attempts to change mal-adaptive 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. Mindfulness is the practice through which people learn to distant themselves from their instinctive emotional and behavioural reactions and begin to understand them for what they are. With this greater control and understanding, people are better equipped to make a choice to process situations objectively, consider the perspectives of others and the implications of their actions.
MiCBT is a 4-stage therapeutic approach, with each stage building upon the previous one. It integrates mindfulness and some of the basic principles of CBT in order to help people improve the way they feel and change unhelpful behaviours. The four stages involved in the process are:
- Mindfulness allows people to recognise their unhelpful thoughts from an external perspective, break down their validity and their impact on mindset and behaviour.
- People learn how to use the insights and awareness that mindfulness brings in social situations
- Patients use the same insights and awareness to better understand other individuals in social situations.
- People explore ways they can be generally kinder to themselves and other in their life
This four-step process is designed to cultivate self-awareness and empathy from the ground up, and in a practical way which can be applied life situations. When mindfulness is integrated into daily life, a new perspective is gained on negative thoughts and changing unhelpful habits becomes easier.
By the end of the this process, people often gain any number of the following benefits:
- Improved focus and concentration
- Improved critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence
- Increase sense of self-worth and confidence
- Improved relationships and sense of being connected with others
- Productive habits and lifestyle changes
These general improvements in mental capacity and self-esteem provide the foundation for a plethora of other new skills. The skills we learn through MiCBT empower us to foster a greater understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others. This results in greater self-esteem and more harmonious relationships with those in our circles. When people are open to new perspectives and new understandings, they begin to naturally enjoy pursuing their own interests and developing their own relationships. With confidence, there really is no limit to what we can achieve.
Changing negative, destructive thoughts and reactive behaviors is not an easy-fix. It requires patience and honest self-reflection to understand and address underlying causes. MiCBT helps people learn to develop control over harmful mental processes and rewire our self-concept and instinctive responses. You can start today by making a daily habit of allocating some time to simply be mindful, focusing on your breath and trying to keep your mind empty. You can also take a pen to paper and dig deep into any mal-adaptive behaviours which seem to arise out of emotion rather than out of thought.
Laura Davis is the owner of Vital Chi Wellness, a leading provider of natural therapies. Vital Chi Wellness offers an alternative therapeutic option to treat minor or chronic health conditions.
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Mindfulness Integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
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