Mindfulness-based approaches

The mindfulness-based approaches are a synergy of certain awareness practices, which have their roots in ancient Buddhism, and some of the findings of modern-day psychology. The primary aim of these approaches is to offer practical skills to cope with life’s challenges in a practical and pragmatical way, and to tackle physical and psychological health problems.

With no attachment to any religious beliefs, they provide hands-on tips and practices in an entirely secular way. The two best-known approaches are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).


Developed in the late 1970’s by Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, Centre for Mindfulness (CFM), MBSR first targeted populations with a wide range of physical and mental health problems.

It has since been studied extensively and by now MBSR has become part of a newly recognized field of integrative medicine within behavioral medicine and general health care.


An integration of MBSR with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MBCT was developed to help those suffering from depression. MBCT teaches to be more aware of thoughts, feelings as mental events and physical sensations so that these are regarded as aspects of experiences that move through the body rather than looked upon as reality in any given moment. As a core skill MBCT teaches to ‘shift mental gears’ intentionally.

MBCT was developed by Mark Williams (University of Oxford), John Teasdale (Cambridge) and Zindel Segal (Toronto). In Great Britain the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended MBCT as a primary treatment for relapse prevention in depression.

Targeted trainings

Below is an incomplete list of some targeted versions of mindfulness trainings:

MBCRP: Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery Program

MBCP: Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting

MBRP: Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention Program

MBTT: Mindfulness Based Trauma Treatment (for veterans)

MBEC: Mindfulness Based Elder Care

MBRE: Mindfulness Based Relationship Enrichment

MB-EAT: Mindfulness Based Eating Awareness Training

ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

DBT: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (used in psychotherapy)