What is the theory behind this Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Worksheet?
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a type of psychotherapy that combines cognitive aspects of therapy with mindfulness techniques to train an individual to become more present-oriented. The key is to make a conscious effort to acknowledge and accept all thoughts and feelings as they come without any judgement or criticism.
How will the worksheet help?
The worksheet is based on the Body Scan technique that is used to achieve a mindful state in MBCT. It helps individuals become aware of their bodily sensations and make it their current focus as opposed to negative thoughts and worries.
How to use the worksheet?
The worksheet provides a body scan script that a therapist can use in their sessions to teach the technique to their clients. It can also be provided to the clients to take home for practising purposes. Instruct the clients to try and practise it at least once daily si that it can be used correctly when the need arises.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Worksheet
The following is a Body Scan Guide to achieve a state of mindfulness where you shift your focus from your negative thoughts to your experience of the present moment. This technique requires much practice but can be very beneficial once mastered.
- Begin by making yourself comfortable in whatever position that may be: sitting, standing or lying down.
- Rest your hands gently by your side. Plant your feet firmly on the ground. Make sure your head is supported
- It is up to you to close your eyes or open them an sleep a gentle gaze
- Take in a long inhale with your nose. Slowly exhale through your mouthRepeat
- Notice the rhythm as your stomach moves up and down with your breathing
- If there are any distractions around you, let them become background noise and just focus on your breathing
- Once you are sure you are not distracted anymore bring your entire focus on to your feet. Wiggle your toes, Move your fingers, Just notice how it feels without any judgement.
- Imagine every breathe travelling all the way down to your feet and returning back to your mouth to be exhaled
- Continue to breathe in and out while imagining this till you are ready to let go of the sensations in your feet
- Now move your attention to your ankles, calves, knees and thighs. Give your legs a little stretch. Just notice the sensations. Do not give any meaning to them. Notice them just as they are.
- Imagine every breathe travelling through your entire leg before coming back up through your lungs out of your mouth
- Continue to breathe in and out while imagining this till you are ready to let go of the sensations in your legs
- Now move your attention to your lower back and pelvis.Notice the sensations whatever they may be. Perhaps the way your back touches the surface. How the surface is putting a slight pressure on your mid and upper back. Just notice the sensations.
- Imagine all tension ebbing away with each breath you exhale as it travels through your entire back. Continue to breathe in and out through your lower, mid and upper back. Let go when you are ready to move on.
- Now move your attention to your stomach and all the internal organs around it. Notice how your clothes feel against your skin as you breath in and out
- Now move your attention to your chest and heart area. Notice the sensations as it moves with each inhale and exhale. Notice your heart beat. Continue to breathe.
- Remember to only notice the sensations and discard all judgemental thoughts.
- Now move your attention to your hands and fingers. Notice the sensations as you imagine your breath travelling all the way to the tips of your fingers and coming back.
- Now move your attention to your arms. Imagine your breath flowing through and back from your entire arm. Notice the sensations. Ignore all judgements.
- Now move your attention to the neck, shoulder and throat area. If this area feels tense, no need to pay attention to that. Just notice how it feels and imagine the tension releasing with each breath.
- Now move your attention to your scalp, head and face. Notice the sensations with each breath. Pay attention to the movement in your facial muscles and nostrils as you breathe in and out. Gently bring your thoughts back to your body sensations whenever you feel them wandering away.
- Now focus on your entire body as a whole. Breathe in and out through your entire body. Tense and relax. Tense and relax. Let out a few final breaths and end the meditation with a long deep inhale and a long slow exhale.
- Return to the present moment and assess how you feel.
Write your experience with the body scan exercise (for clients)- Optional
Crane, R. (2017) Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (2nd Ed). Routledge.
Mirgain, S (2016) A Body Scan Script. In Whole Health for Pain and Suffering: An Integrative Approach. Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation
You can download this worksheet here.