MBCT Tailored to Meet You So That You Can Meet YourSelf
You CAN Change Your Patterns of Depression and Anxiety
Every person’s depression and anxiety is different, and everyone learns to recover in different ways. Maybe you have runaway thoughts or unexplained body aches. Maybe fear rules your life. You might be numb emotionally or physically. Some people experience all of these. Some one or two.
In whatever way depression and anxiety presents or how you learn, our Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program offers a class for you. The core of MBCT is the same as it always has been. Now we offer four groups at different times throughout the year. Each group has a different emphasis to better meet your needs.
The Core of MBCT
All MBCT classes have an evidence-based common core. The common core has two key elements – how you learn and what you learn.
How You Learn: In MBCT you learn by experiencing things and then discussing your lived experience in a group. You practice what you learn in the group daily at home to develop new habits of thinking, feeling, sensing and being.
What You Learn: Whatever emphasis you choose, you will learn and practice six core elements of MBCT.
- Recognize factors that contribute to depression and anxiety, what you can (and can’t) change and how change works
- Understand how depression and anxiety cause a trauma response that leaves you stuck in suffering
- Cultivate the seven habits of mindfulness
- Identify your unique patterns that lead into suffering and patterns that lead to freedom
- Practice meditation to learn to notice and accept what is in this moment, create space for choice and enable opportunities for growth
- Begin a lifelong process of strengthening habits that lead people to be victims of their lives to thriving with whatever arises
There are no canned PowerPoints. You don’t learn about meditation. You experience meditation and discuss the life lessons that arise in group discussion. You don’t learn about emotions. You experience emotions in the course of practicing and discussing meditation. You don’t learn about compassion. You experience compassion for yourself and others meditating and discussing your experiences in the group.
Five Different Groups, Four Areas of Emphases
In addition to the five core elements, each group emphasizes an aspect of healing: Mind, Body, Emotion and Spirit. There are two groups that focus on the Spirit – Christian Emphasis and Wisdom Emphasis.
Every group includes the same research-based core MBCT elements. The types and content of meditations differ, which leads to different lived experience and thus different lessons arise from the discussions that follow. Whatever emphasis you choose, you will practice a sample of different types of meditation also.
Mind Emphasis. This group focuses on runaway thoughts that can make you miserable. You will do mostly sitting guided meditations, such as labeling thoughts and emotion, dealing with troubling thoughts about emotions and observing thoughts non-judgmentally. These meditations lead the group to notice different types of thoughts that make you miserable, such as stories about the past and future, thoughts about emotions, ways we distort our thoughts, negative beliefs about yourself and thoughts about who you are. You rehearse ways to think differently, practice non-judgmental thinking and experience the freedom of not attaching to runaway thoughts as you develop the fundamentals of MBCT.
Body Emphasis. This group focuses on connecting with your body, so that you can change patterns of depression and anxiety early on and directly in the body. We explore how depression and anxiety both creates disconnection with the body, and how disconnection with the body exacerbates depression and anxiety. Being embodied is essential to breaking the unnecessary habits that lead to depression and anxiety. We explore how the nervous system works to exacerbate or heal them. Meditations will focus on body scans, mindful yoga, grounding practices and breathing exercises- sitting on meditation cushions or lying on yoga mats. You will learn to feel both fear and acceptance in the body. Experiencing these, you will practice staying in the body as you do the fundamentals of MBCT.
Emotion Emphasis. This group focuses on identifying the many ways you avoid feeling painful emotions and experiencing how it feels to sit with transient emotions that come in waves. Meditations will focus on noticing emotions in the mind, feeling them in the body and letting them just be without self-judgment but rather with self-compassion. You experience what it feels like to open your heart to fear in a safe environment. You practice allowing yourself the freedom of vulnerability as you develop the fundamentals of MBCT.
Spiritual Emphasis. This group focuses on two types of spiritual schools of thought.
Christian Emphasis. This inter-denominational group focuses on renewing your spirit within to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding in your heart and mind. You will experience the difference between thinking about and being with God. You will practice contemplative prayer and silent reflection on devotions to focus group discussions about the fundamentals of MBCT.
Wisdom Emphasis. This group draws from Buddhist, Sufi, Christian, Kabbalah and other wisdom traditions and focuses on cultivating your true self. You will practice meditations that lead you to experience letting go, forgiveness, lovingkindness and compassion for yourself and others. The resulting discussions will help you discern what comes from your dualistic ego and what comes from unity with the source as you work on the fundamentals of MBCT.
How To Choose An Emphasis
Each group stands on its own. You can do one group once, different groups over time, or the same group more than once. For example, if you are a person who lives mostly in your head you might take the mind emphasis first to build on your strength and then take the body emphasis to get you out of your comfort zone. If you have difficulty with emotion regulation, you might take the heart emphasis first to develop more self-compassion then take either the mind or body emphasis next to gain more balance. If you are a religious or spiritual person, you might start with either the Christian or spiritual emphasis then move to another group from there.
Sandra Miller, MSW, LCSW, and Sunyata Kopriva, MSW, LCSW, co-lead the MBCT program at St Louis DBT. Together, they share more than 50 years combined meditation and contemplative prayer practices. Both have treated trauma, depression and anxiety extensively. Both have substantial training and experience teaching mindfulness, meditation and MBCT. At the same time, their differences complement each other.
With her welcoming smile and fun-loving spirit, Sunyata Kopriva, MSW, LCSW, leads the body emphasis group as well as the emotion and spiritual groups. Sunyata is a fully licensed trauma therapist and yoga teacher. She has practiced various types of meditation and prayer since her teen years, and is now a dedicated student of Tibetan Buddhism and yoga. Her classes are creative, fun, and thoughtful. Prepare to get comfortable with the messiness of the moment.
With insight, compassion and directness, Sandra Miller, MSW, LCSW, leads the mind emphasis group as well as the emotion and Christian groups. She has extensive training and experience in mindfulness therapies, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She has practiced mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer since 1981. She started teaching mindfulness in 2012 and has led MBCT groups since 2016. Participants describe her as thoughtful, thought-provoking and compassionate.
Offerings and Cost
Groups are offered spring, summer and fall. The cost of the 10-week group is $60 per two-hour session, which includes the book The Mindful Way Through Depression, home practice exercises, notebook and a full-day required Saturday retreat. Documentation to file for out of network benefits can be provided on request.