Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a treatment for chronic depression: A preliminary study

Thorsten Barnhofer, Catherine Crane, Emily Hargus, Myanthi Amarasinghe, Rosie Winder, J. Mark G. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Citations (Scopus)


This pilot study investigated the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a treatment combining mindfulness meditation and interventions taken from cognitive therapy, in patients suffering from chronic-recurrent depression. Currently symptomatic patients with at least three previous episodes of depression and a history of suicidal ideation were randomly allocated to receive either MBCT delivered in addition to treatment-as-usual (TAU; N = 14 completers) or TAU alone (N = 14 completers). Depressive symptoms and diagnostic status were assessed before and after treatment phase. Self-reported symptoms of depression decreased from severe to mild levels in the MBCT group while there was no significant change in the TAU group. Similarly, numbers of patients meeting full criteria for depression decreased significantly more in the MBCT group than in the TAU group. Results are consistent with previous uncontrolled studies. Although based on a small sample and, therefore, limited in their generalizability, they provide further preliminary evidence that MBCT can be used to successfully reduce current symptoms in patients suffering from a protracted course of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)366-373
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


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