Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a cognitive behavioural approach that integrates the practice of mindfulness meditation with the more traditional techniques used in cognitive therapy.

What is MBCT?

The word mindfulness can be defined as ‘being in the present moment with intention’ or ‘the state of being conscious or aware of something’.


Mindfulness has become increasingly part of western therapies as a desirable skill to cultivate in order to facilitate mental wellbeing. As a therapeutic technique, mindfulness attempts to bring about a mental state that is achieved by focusing one’s awareness in the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.


As a therapeutic approach, MBCT is designed to help people who suffer from repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. The focus of this therapy is to help the client understand the modes of the mind that often underpin mood disorders and develop a new relationship to them.


This therapy is often delivered in a group format though it can also be a model utilised in individual therapy.

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What can I expect in MBCT?

  • MBCT will help you understand what depression is
  • It will help you understand what makes you vulnerable to negative mood spirals
  • It will help you make sense of the connection between negative spirals and the ways we might put ourselves under pressure, lose touch with what is meaningful in our lives or become dominated by high standards and are left feeling as though we are ‘not good enough’
  • Mindfulness will help you see these patterns in the mind more clearly and learn how to spot your mood changing so that you ‘nip them in the bud’ at a much earlier stage
  • Mindfulness will teach you how to refocus your mind on being in the present moment rather than become overly focused on either regrets of the past or worries about the future
  • Mindfulness will help you cultivate a non-judgemental approach to your life and greater self-compassion

Mindfulness can be an incredibly valuable skill to cultivate even for individuals who might not be suffering from depression but might wish to increase their psychological resilience and lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Frequently asked questions

You are likely to be offered MBCT if you suffer from recurrent episodes of depression or if you are generally struggling with high levels of stress in your everyday life. A mindfulness-based approach to therapy will help you focus on the present moment and develop a different relationship with your mind and difficult thoughts.

In CBT, the focus is on helping you challenge and change negative thoughts. There is an assumption that through changing your thoughts patterns, your emotions and symptoms will also be alleviated. We would generally offer you MBCT when CBT hasn’t been effective and if you already rationally understand that your thoughts don’t have validity but you’re still having difficulties letting go of them. In these cases, mindfulness can help you develop a different relationship to your thoughts.

MBCT is usually delivered as an 8 week intervention. In some cases, your psychologist might offer a longer term intervention which will depend on the nature of your difficulties.

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.