Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)



Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with mindfulness practices.The MBCT programme was originally designed to help people who suffer from repeated bouts of depression, but is increasingly recognised as a way that anyone can use to deal more skillfully with the stresses and strains of daily living. MBCT was developed by Zendel Segal et al., based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programme. 



Who is MBCT for? 

  • This course is for anyone interested in applying MBCT techniques to improve their mental well-being
  • It is for those interested in an opportunity to learn a new way of relating to unwanted thoughts and feelings and powerful skills for responding to them in an intentional and skillful manner


Course Structure

  • Eight weekly classes, 2.5 hours each
  • 1 full-day retreat
  • Daily home practice assignments for 45-60 minutes each day 

In order to benefit most from this course, your commitment to attend all 8 classes and to practice the daily home assignments for 8 weeks is strongly encouraged. 



  • Seniors aged 50 and above (Singaporeans and PRs) are eligible for a National Silver Academy (NSA) subsidy. 
  • SkillsFuture credit can be applied towards this course. 




Q: What is the difference between MBCT and MBSR? 

A: MBCT is an adaptation of MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) that uses the same basic format and structure – an 8-week class with an all-day retreat; a class structure that includes psychoeducation, formal meditation and movement practices, and teacher-led discussion and inquiry; and daily home practices and exercises. 

As in MBSR, participants learn to recognise habitual, unhelpful reactions to difficulty and learn instead to bring an interested, accepting and non-judgmental attitude to all experience, including difficult sensations, emotions, thoughts and behaviour.   MBCT replaces some of the content of MBSR with a focus on specific patterns of negative thinking that people with depression are vulnerable to, but which we all experience from time to time.

MBCT was developed to treat depression and research has shown it to be effective in preventing relapse in people who have recovered from depression. The key difference in MBCT is an explicit focus on turning toward low mood and negative thoughts early in the program so that participants gain experience with recognising these symptoms and confidence in their ability to respond skilfully. 

MBCT was developed to prevent future episodes of depression in people with a history of recurrent depression.  It is based on the observation that recurrence in people who have recovered from a depressive episode is more likely when patterns of negative thinking are triggered by low moods encountered in the course of everyday life.  Negative thinking leads to lower mood and this pattern escalates to bring on a relapse of depression.

Techniques from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy are incorporated into the program to promote greater awareness of these patterns and mindfulness practices are used to disengage from them.  The focus is on changing one’s relationship to unwanted thoughts, feelings and body sensations so that participants no longer try to avoid them or react to them automatically, but rather respond to them in an intentional and skilful manner.