John Teasdale is one of the founders of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, along with Mark Williams and Zindel Segal. He worked at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of the University of Oxford, Cambridge, and also as a research scientist at the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford. He has spent decades studying and researching the psychological process as it relates to emotional problems, specifically depression. He was involved in research that explored various approaches for the treatment and prevention of major depression and focused on cognitive therapies and mindfulness. Teasdale is a pioneer in his field and has been recognized by the American Psychological Association with their prestigious Distinguished Scientist Award. He has also been elected a Fellow at the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Academy. Teasdale retired to spend time enjoying personal activities and interests, but still works privately teaching and practicing mindfulness and meditation.
Contribution to Psychology
Developed by John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Mark Williams, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is based on the mindfulness and contemplative approaches created by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Teasdale studied cognitive therapies for years and developed MBCT as a viable and effective form of treatment for the prevention of depression relapse. MBCT combines cognitive therapy, mindfulness, contemplative approaches, and Buddhism. This discipline helps a client learn to accept their emotions and thoughts in a nonjudgmental way, in order to identify them more clearly. MBCT is conducted with clear intent and focus, and creates an awareness that provides the client insight into specific reactive processes that result from negative thoughts and emotions. Being able to acknowledge and understand these behaviors allows a client to transform their behaviors in response to negative thoughts.
This form of therapy is designed to aid people who have suffered from three or more major depressive episodes, in order to prevent them from relapsing. MBCT is conducted in eight weekly sessions and once learned, can be done by an individual at any time. This valuable tool allows a client to gain control over their thoughts, rather than having their thoughts control them. MBCT has been shown to be a highly effective treatment protocol for people with major depression, and can reduce the chance of relapse by up to fifty percent.