Mindfulness Based Addiction Recovery

College Counseling in PhiladelphiaMindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is just one of the meditation based approaches being used to address the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) today. Mindfulness Based Addiction Recovery (MBAR) and Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) are other approaches incorporating mindfulness based approaches in helping individuals cope with cravings, stress and the co-morbid presentation of other mental health symptoms and disorders that so often coexist with the substance use disorders.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and outlined and presented in his book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness (1990, 2013) Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, New York. This program has been mainstreamed into medical centers and universities internationally. The Penn Program for Mindfulness at the University of Pennsylvania, teaches this as their capstone course.

While Mindfulness Based Addiction Recovery (MBAR) is the layperson’s term to refer to any and all aspects of  mindfulness-based approaches applied to addiction recovery whether abstinence based or harm reduction, the field of addiction psychology has fast caught up with these applications and practices because of their clear, obvious and evidenced-based utility in treating the substance use disorders. Mindfulness Based Addiction Recovery is the colloquial term gaining popularity in the psychological treatment of  substance use. One of the most promising and evidenced-based treatments to date is the practice of Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention.

Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention combines the landmark work of Alan Marlatt and Judith Gordon at the University of Washington in their book Relapse Prevention. Any therapist practicing today uses techniques and approaches that they have learned in their training very often without knowing that these techniques were presented in this book. Their field changing publication was the first to thoroughly combine the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approaches with the standard methods of drug and alcohol treatment of the time. Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention is described in a recent article in The Huffington Post, and the specific program is available at Amazon, Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors. This work has been compiled by the outstanding psychologists and therapists Sarah Bowen PhD  in the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington and Neha Chawla PhD in Seattle Washington. Alan Marlatt died in 2011 but will forever be a giant in our field, having worked for over thirty years at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center. Their clinician’s guide is a must read for any therapist seeking to learn and implement MBRP and MBAR approaches in clinical practice.