Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: Primary Care Patients’ Experiences of Outcomes in Everyday Life and Relapse Prevention


The concept of mindfulness has attracted a growing body of research within behavioural medicine over the last decade. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has been developed to prevent relapse among people who suffer recurrent depression. Studies show impressive results, with a decrease in the risk of relapse of up to 50%. However, primary care patients’ own experiences and MBCT’s effectiveness as a relapse program and aid to their ability to deal with everyday life remain relatively unexplored. The aim of the study, therefore, was to examine how primary care patients with recurrent depression perceive the usefulness of MBCT in preventing relapse. Nineteen patients who had participated in a MBCT program for recurrent depression within a primary care setting were interviewed 12 months after treatment. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify, analyse, and report patterns in the interviews. Analysis suggests two overarching themes, “Strategies for remission” and “Personal development”. This study brings new information about what participants in MBCT classes describe as the most useful interventions for relapse prevention. The formal and informal meditation exercises focused on the body and the breath were described as the most important strategies for remission and the mindfulness practice gave the participants an enhanced self-knowledge that helped them to better deal with everyday stress and interpersonal functioning. The findings also indicate that traditional cognitive behavioural interventions, such as behaviour activation and establishing a maintenance plan, might not be as essential to relapse prevention as formerly thought.

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Lilja, J. , Broberg, M. , Norlander, T. & Broberg, A. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: Primary Care Patients’ Experiences of Outcomes in Everyday Life and Relapse Prevention. Psychology, 6, 464-477. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.64044.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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