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The Role of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Teen Mental Health Treatment

By September 8, 2023Mental Health

Mindfulness is the conscious practice of being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The goal of cognitive therapy is to help a young person grow in a healthy way by retiring outdated, negative, debilitating patterns, and creating new, heathier ways of thinking. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a specialized type of psychotherapy that originated as a relapse prevention approach for recurrent depression. Verywell Mind explains that MBCT “involves a combination of cognitive therapy, meditation, and the cultivation of a present-oriented, non-judgmental attitude called ‘mindfulness.’” In this therapeutic approach, teenagers can learn how to use cognitive methods and mindfulness meditation to interrupt the automatic processes that often trigger adverse symptoms associated with mental health conditions. Hence, MBCT can play a valuable role in the treatment of teen mental health issues.

Good Therapy explains that “MBCT helps participants learn how to recognize their sense of being and see themselves as separate from their thoughts and moods. This disconnect can allow people to become liberated from thought patterns in which the same negative messages may be replayed over and over.” Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works by first helping a teenager learn to identify and understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and/ or patterns in his or her life. This is commonly done through talk therapy, with primary focus placed on the present moment. The MBCT method then encourages the teen, with the help of his or her clinician, to use the revealed negative thoughts, feelings, and/ or patterns, and adjust them to create more positive and successful patterns, feelings, and/ or thoughts. This is frequently done by using specific examples that have surfaced throughout one’s therapy sessions. After practicing this method repeatedly, using different examples, and applying the method to several different areas of one’s life, a young person can modify his or her dysfunctional thinking. MBCT helps teens cultivate a regular practice of checking in with oneself and one’s true thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which can be very helpful to a young person’s maturation process and emotional development. Further, such awareness prompts a teen to play an active role in their own recovery, both through and following treatment, which can directly inform one’s mental health and emotional well-being.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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