Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy affects self-criticism, self-assurance in patients with depression

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Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may improve how patients feel about themselves in difficult situations in ways that may help protect against relapse of depressive symptoms, according to new findings published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.

For the study, 68 individuals were randomized the MBCT or a waiting list. Patients who received MBCT were more likely to experience reductions in feelings of self-inadequacy and improvements in self-reassurance. Additionally, individuals with improvements in self-reassurance were less likely to experience depressive relapse within two years after the MBCT intervention, according to the study.

"Self-criticism makes people vulnerable to depression,” said corresponding author Elisabeth Schanche, PhD, of the University of Bergen, in a statement. “This study shows that MBCT can influence how people relate to themselves, and that being supportive towards oneself protects against depressive relapse.”