Therapy is needed to help patients build a tool kit for lasting sobriety, one where they can resist relapse and stay on track for lifelong sobriety. But issues like depression, anxiety, cravings, and post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms can make it difficult for someone to stay on track. Therapies for addiction treatment like MBCT and CBT can be effective in helping patients treat depression, anxiety, cravings, and more.
CBT, which stands for cognitive behavioral therapy, is a time-tested approach to therapy for a variety of challenges. In CBT, patients sit with a therapist one on one for a psychotherapeutic treatment in which maladaptive behaviors are recognized as results of certain thought patterns. Patients in traditional CBT are encouraged to examine their negative thoughts and pair those thoughts against reality to better recognize harmful thought patterns that are simply unfounded in reality. Healthier thinking patterns more readily emerge once patients recognize the unrealistic nature of many of their negative thoughts. 1
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, known as MBCT, is a newer form of CBT that also incorporates meditation, breathing exercises, and other elements of mindfulness into therapy. 2 MBCT may be practiced in a group therapy setting, but it has the same aim as traditional CBT of helping patients gain better control over their thoughts and emotions in the pursuit of better physical responses to these factors. Many patients choose MBCT for anxiety treatment.
So, what are the big differences between MBCT and CBT? The biggest difference is the inclusion of the mindfulness element to MBCT. Both therapies are more similar than different, working to help patients better control their thoughts and emotions and thus their responses to them. The mindfulness elements of MBCT, including breathing and meditation exercises, rebalance networks within the brain to help patients better control responses to negative thoughts or emotions. 2
Both MBCT and CBT work to help patients better control their thoughts, emotions, and responses to these factors. But MBCT differs from CBT by incorporating elements of mindfulness to additionally control the body’s automatic responses to the stresses associated with many negative thoughts or feelings. Both approaches to mental health and addiction treatment therapy have been proven effective for helping patients.3