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The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center offers a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program. MBCT is an empirically-supported group-based intervention that was designed to facilitate recovery from depression and prevent future depressive relapses. The treatment has also been shown to be helpful for individuals with anxiety. MBCT was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. The treatment combines elements of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. Participants use mindfulness to develop a new way of relating to their experiences using acceptance, compassion, and curiosity. 

Program details: 

  • One initial individual evaluation for screening and orientation
  • Commitment to attending eight weeks of two-and-a-half-hour group sessions and one day-long retreat
  • Commitment to 40-50 minutes of daily home practice during the program (audio files will be provided to facilitate home practice)

Who should participate? 

  • Participants must have a diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety
  • Participants are most likely to benefit from the program if they are functioning well in their daily lives and have the energy and motivation to engage in assigned home practices consistently 

Who should not participate?

  • Persons with current or past psychotic features; have received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the past six-months; are actively abusing substances; have current suicidality or who are unable to function appropriately in a group setting.
 Interested in joining a session?
  • The next session will be starting fall 2019. If you are interested, please contact Sophie Lazarus at Sophie.Lazarus@osumc.edu for more information on joining the MBCT groups.

About Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

MBCT was designed to help individuals who experience repeated bouts of depressed mood and chronic unhappiness. It integrates ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices toward the cultivation of mindfulness. MBCT uses mindfulness to help participants understand their depression and anxiety. The core of the work is creating increased awareness of the modes of mind that characterize negative mood states while ultimately learning to relate to them in ways that are more helpful than hurtful. Mindfulness helps increase awareness of habitual patterns that increase vulnerability to downward spirals and getting stuck. You will develop the skills to see the connection between downward spirals and certain habits of responding (impossibly high standards, thoughts about being “not good enough,” and ways we make ourselves miserable with overwork). Practice helps us see how these habits lead us to lose touch with what we value most in our lives. This new way of relating involves greater acceptance and kindness towards whatever arises.

The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence has recently endorsed MBCT as an effective treatment for the prevention of depressive relapse. Research from several large research trials has shown that for people who have been clinically depressed three or more times, completing the program and learning these new skills significantly reduces the chances that their depression will return. Two large randomized clinical trials of MBCT showed that it reduces rates of relapse by 50% among those who suffer from recurrent depression.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Recommended Reading

  • Brach, T. (2004). Radical acceptance: Embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha. NY: Bantam.
  • Chödrön, P. (2002). When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times. Boston: Shambhala.
  • Chödrön, P. (1994). Start where you are: A guide to compassionate living. Boston: Shambhala.
  • Germer, C. K. (2009). The mindful path to self-compassion: Freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions. NY: Guilford.
  • Goleman, D. (2003). Destructive emotions: How can we overcome them?: A scientiļ¬c dialogue with the Dalai Lama. NY: Bantam Dell.
  • Gunaratana, H. (1991). Mindfulness in plain English. Boston: Shambhala.
  • Hanh, T.N. (1976). The miracle of mindfulness: An introduction to the practice of meditation. Boston: Beacon.
  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. NY: Hyperion.
  • Kornfield, J. (2008). The wise heart: A guide to the universal teachings of Buddhist psychology. NY: Bantam.
  • Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. NY: HarperCollins
  • Orsillo, S. M., & Roemer, L. (2011). The mindful way through anxiety: Break free from chronic worry and reclaim your life. NY: Guilford.
  • Salzberg, S. (1995). Loving-kindness: The revolutionary art of happiness. Shambala Publications.
  • Williams, M., Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). The mindful way through depression: Freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. NY: Guilford.


What is mindfulness? 
Mindfulness is attention to the present moment with curiosity and non-judgment. While there are many different definitions of mindfulness, the spirit of mindfulness is increased awareness of each moment of our life with an attitude of acceptance and compassion. 

How might mindfulness meditation benefit my life? 
There are many well-documented benefits of mindfulness including decreased anxiety and depression, as well as greater stability in physical symptoms such as blood glucose and blood pressure. One benefit commonly reported by patients is a greater appreciation of simple things in their lives, such as a cup of coffee or the color of the trees in autumn. In this way, we begin to experience our lives in each moment, rather than operating on “automatic pilot” or living in the past or future. Through practice, we may come to realize that there is more “right” than “wrong” with us and engage in our lives more fully. 

In reality, what each person takes from mindfulness is unique, so please find out for yourself how mindful meditation can enrich your life. 

Do I need to have experience with meditation or yoga prior to the course? 
No. There is no expectation that participants have previous experience with meditation, mindfulness, or yoga. Everyone will have the chance to experience and explore mindfulness with the assistance of a skilled teacher to help guide them and answer any questions. For those with meditation experience, the course can be a helpful refresher and way to reconnect with the practice. 

Will MBCT disrupt ongoing psychotherapy?
This course can be a great compliment to psychotherapy. Please speak with your provider about the program, as it is most helpful to have your other mental health providers be in support of you participating in the program. If you choose, with your consent we can speak with your therapist as you go through the program. 

Is mindfulness compatible with my faith? 
MBCT offers mindfulness in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of religious traditions or faith. Because mindfulness helps us be more awake in our lives, it can be a good compliment to many religious traditions. 


I am learning that I have the patience and ability to do this. I am learning how my mind works. - Noah M

It has now become virtually an automatic thought: Am I acting wisely, or are my actions driven by emotions? – Anonymous

The breathing space has been very helpful for stopping me in my tracks. I can pause for a moment and reflect on my thoughts. – Katie L.

MBCT has helped me realize my limitations and be less critical of myself. – Janet H

This practice can help me to live life and not have my negative thoughts control me. – Pam R

With the negative emotions, anxiety in particular, I am better at not fighting it or trying to do something to rationalize it or ignore it—but allow it and can see that it passes – Anonymous

Our Team

Lazarus Sophie_724x840MBCT groups will be led by Sophie Lazarus, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Ohio. Dr. Lazarus is a long time mindfulness-practitioner and a qualified teacher of MBCT. She completed an intensive training in MBCT under the guidance of one of the treatment developers, Dr. Zindel Segal and another expert in MBCT, Susan Woods, MSW, LICSW.  She is currently a trainee in the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute.  Dr. Lazarus may be joined by a co-facilitator who is an advanced trainee in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, including predoctoral clinical psychology interns and advanced clinical psychology graduate students who have been trained by Dr. Lazarus in the MBCT model. 

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