There are many different types of therapy that are commonly relied upon in a substance abuse or addiction treatment program. When individuals hear of mindfulness based therapy, what a person is most commonly referring to is mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness is the conscious practice of being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The goal of cognitive therapy is to help a person grow in a healthy way by retiring old, negative, debilitating patterns and creating new, heathier ways of thinking. The combination of these two techniques is known as mindfulness based cognitive therapy. This is a specialized type of therapy that originated as a relapse prevention approach to primarily help individuals treat depression.

Similar to depression, addiction, also happens to be considered to be a relapsing disease; in that it is not uncommon for individuals to relapse throughout his or her recovery process. The short and long term damage that an individual can incur during his or her active abuse of drugs or alcohol can be enormous. With habitual abuse of drugs or alcohol a person can actually alter his or her brain function and disrupt several different systems that work within one’s body to help it survive (i.e. respiratory system, circulatory system, central nervous system…etc.). In many cases, the damage done by excessive substance abuse can be rectified, but it often takes a significant amount of time, patience, determination, and may require several different treatment approaches. One of the reasons that mindfulness based therapy is widely used amongst various substance abuse and addiction treatment programs is that it places great focus on relapse prevention. Having the proper tools and knowledge to help with relapse prevention in addiction treatment is essential.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy works first by helping an individual learn to recognize and understand harmful thoughts, feelings, or patterns in his or her life. This is commonly done through talk therapy, with a great focus placed on the present moment. The MBCT method then encourages the individual, with the help of his or her clinician, to use the revealed negative thoughts, feelings, or patterns, and adjust them to create more positive and successful patterns, feelings, or thoughts. This is frequently done by using specific examples that have surfaced throughout one’s therapy sessions. After practicing this method over and over again, using different examples, and applying the method to several different areas of one’s life, a person is able to modify his or her dysfunctional thinking.

The tools learned throughout one’s mindfulness based cognitive therapy experience can be extremely beneficial for every step of one’s recovery process from substance abuse or addiction. The fact MBCT works by focusing on shifting intrinsic aspects of an individual’s psyche that have allowed him or her to make damaging and in some cases, dangerous choices (for example, turning to drugs or alcohol in the first place), can be a long-lasting solution. Furthermore, MBCT relies on a mindfulness based approach, which helps to enable a person to deeply connect with the core issues that need shifting. This allows for a more holistic and authentic adjustment of his or her perspective. Uncovering the core of a problem, negative thought, unhelpful pattern…etc. will help provide an individual with the tools and insights to be able to change them at the root.

Integrating a regular practice of mindfulness into one’s life can be incredibly helpful for an individual in substance abuse or addiction recovery. The notion of being fully aware of one’s emotions, by being forced to live in the present can remove some of the possible burden and anxiety that can accompany addiction. The regular practice of checking in with oneself and one’s true thoughts, feelings, and emotions can be very helpful with a person’s maturation process in addition to furthering one’s emotional growth.

Further Information

Every individual seeking substance abuse or addiction treatment must select a program that will be suit his or her needs throughout this life changing experience. Substance abuse and addiction are all consuming, and if left untreated can result in extremely difficult long term consequences, and in some cases death. There is no need to go through this alone. If you or someone you know is in need of addiction treatment for drugs or alcohol, please seek help immediately. We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding substance abuse or addiction. For further information, do not hesitate contacting us at: 323-207-0276. You can also feel free to reach out via email at: [email protected].