Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) targets the critical risk mechanism in recurrent depression: the tendency to react to small changes in mood with large amounts of negative self-focused rumination. Mindfulness practice teaches patients to notice this tendency to ruminate earlier so that people can respond more skillfully. Research trials have found that MBCT reduces the risk of recurrence of depression by over 30% overall, with reductions of over 50% in those with the longest and most severe depression.
Mark Williams is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. The main focus of his research and clinical work has been to understand how best to prevent serious clinical depression and suicide.
With colleagues John Teasdale (Cambridge) and Zindel Segal (Toronto) he developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for prevention of relapse and recurrence in depression, and research has now found that MBCT markedly reduces the rate of future depression in those who have suffered the most serious and persistent forms of major depression.
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