Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (2009), 37:413-430 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2009

Research Article

Participants' Experiences of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: “It Changed Me in Just about Every Way Possible”

Mark Allena1, Andrew Bromleya1, Willem Kuykena1 c1 and Stefanie J. Sonnenberga1

a1 University of Exeter, UK
Article author query
allen m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bromley a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
kuyken w [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
sonnenberg sj [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


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.

Keywords:Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy; MBCT; qualitative; thematic analysis; depression; relapse prevention


c1 Reprint requests to Willem Kuyken, Mood Disorders Centre, School of Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QG, UK. E-mail: