Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Children ages 8- to 12-years old with anxiety or depression; can be modified for both younger and older children

For children/adolescents ages: 8 – 12

Brief Description

MBCT-C is a psychotherapy for anxious or depressed children adapted from MBCT for adults which has been rated by the CEBC in the Depression Treatment (Adult) topic area. The adult and child programs both combine mindfulness-based theory and practices with cognitively oriented interventions. The primary aim is to improve affective self-regulation through development of mindful attention and decentering from thoughts and emotions. Unlike cognitive therapy, no effort is made to restructure or change existing thoughts and emotions. The program consists of 12 weekly therapy sessions lasting 90-minutes, conducted individually or in small groups of 6-8 children. Activities are designed to be engaging and developmentally appropriate for children ages 8 to 12. Home-based practice activities aim to further develop skills learned in each session. Parents/caregivers are invited to attend two separate adult sessions. Written session summaries, handouts, and home practice schedules are provided at every session. These written materials encourage adults to participate in the home-based activities along with the child.

Program Goals:

The goals of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C) are:

  • Enhance social-emotional resiliency
  • Promote positive changes in how the child relates to their own thoughts and emotions
  • Learn to distinguish thoughts that are judgmental from those that simply describe or note one’s experiences
  • Recognize that judgments often escalate mood disturbances, then mood disturbances can trigger maladaptive behaviors
  • Cultivate self-acceptance and acceptance of those things that cannot be changed
  • Expand awareness of personal emotional and behavioral choices

Contact Information

Randye J. Semple, PhD
Title: Assistant Professor
Agency/Affiliation: Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Department: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Website: www.sites.google.com/site/randyesemplephd
Phone: (323) 442-4000
Fax: (323) 442-4003

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2017