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

  • Mark Allen (a1), Andrew Bromley (a1), Willem Kuyken (a1) and Stefanie J. Sonnenberg (a1)


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.


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


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

  • Mark Allen (a1), Andrew Bromley (a1), Willem Kuyken (a1) and Stefanie J. Sonnenberg (a1)
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