Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Addiction Treatment
Wise men have said that our thoughts define our reality. Working with this assumption, we can safely say that taking control of our thoughts can change our reality and enhance our quality of life. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy or MBCT is a powerful tool that can help us accomplish this. MBCT is often used in addiction treatment to help recovering addicts recognize and understand their emotions and thought patterns and learn to develop more effective, positive thought patterns. In this article, we introduce you to mindfulness based cognitive therapy and talk about some of the benefits it has in substance abuse treatment.
What is mindfulness based cognitive therapy?
As the name suggests, mindfulness based cognitive therapy is based on a combination of principles derived from mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. The aim of cognitive therapy is to help a person understand how their thoughts and emotions affect their behaviors, and consequently, how their behaviors can lead to problems like addiction. Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions continuously. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is a marriage of these two concepts and is a powerful tool in the treatment of addiction and mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and more. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy has been successfully used to treat these conditions in people of various age groups and also to prevent relapse.
How does MBCT work?
The underlying principle of mindfulness based cognitive therapy is that relapse of conditions like depression or addiction is due to the reappearance of negative thoughts and feelings. This occurs due to a reactivation of emotions that can lead to another episode of addictive or drug-seeking behavior. Anything can trigger a reactivation of dysfunctional thinking, such as a sad mood or other provocations. However, studies have shown that people who participate in mindfulness based cognitive therapy have significantly less reactivation of dysfunctional thought patterns. Therefore, it is believed that mindfulness based cognitive therapy works by reducing the reactivation of dysfunctional thinking.
During mindfulness based cognitive therapy sessions, clients are taught skills to become aware of distressing emotions, to accept them, to exercise self-compassion, and to break-up the negative patterns before they spiral out of control. In other words, mindfulness based cognitive therapy involves meeting distressing feelings with patience, empathy, and kindness. Clients learn to place intentional attention on their feelings and sensations through practices like a body scan, mindful movement, and mindful breathing. Also, clients participating in mindfulness based cognitive therapy learn to become aware of habitual thought patterns and reactions and to step out of these negative spirals.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for addiction recovery
One of the reasons people struggling with substance abuse suffer a relapse is a downward spiral in negative thoughts. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy teaches recovering addicts to stop this downward spiral and emerge from a sad mood or painful emotions without seeking drugs or alcohol. Clients become more aware of their thought patterns and begin to recognize the triggers that make them vulnerable. In other words, mindfulness based cognitive therapy helps clients learn to shift gears from a negative state of mind to a more positive one that is balanced, optimistic, self-aware, and less judgmental. Recovering addicts who attend mindfulness based cognitive therapy can successfully deal with difficult emotions and moods, be present in the current environment, and appreciate the small pleasures of life.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy exercises
If you’d like to try a few simple MBCT exercises at home, you can try the following quick 3-minute practice. Spend the first minute focusing on the question – how do I feel right now? Try to think of your emotions, thoughts, and sensations and assign words and phrases to them. Now, spend the second minute of your mindfulness based cognitive therapy focusing on your breath. Take deep, long breaths and focus your mind on the inhalation and exhalation of your breaths. In the third minute of the mindfulness based cognitive therapy, expand your attention from your breath to the rest of your body and focus on sensations in different parts of the body.
Another effective mindfulness based cognitive therapy exercise is the body scan. Lie down on your back with your palms facing up and feet slightly apart. You can also sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Start the mindfulness based cognitive therapy by becoming aware of your breath and focusing on its rhythm. You don’t have to try and change your breathing pattern. Rather, you simply have to become aware of your natural rhythm of breathing. Next, as part of the mindfulness based cognitive therapy, bring your awareness of parts of your body that are experiencing various sensations like tingling, heaviness, or pain. Also, note parts of your body that don’t have any sensations. Move sequentially from your toes to your head, focusing in turn on each part of the body, such as the feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, etc., finishing with the face and head.
Discover Recovery Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Program
Discover Recovery Treatment Center in Long Beach is a leading residential drug rehab facility in Washington State. We offer a holistic addiction treatment program that includes a range of therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, contingency management, and mindfulness based cognitive therapy. Our clinical team includes masters level therapists and counselors who have extensive experience in treating substance use disorders. We have designed our inpatient drug rehab program in Washington using evidence-based therapies such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy.
Addiction treatment at Discover Recovery typically begins with medical detox, followed by a range of behavioral therapies such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy. Our facilities are located in scenic Long Beach and offer a safe and supportive environment for healing to take place. We understand how challenging overcoming an addiction can be. That’s why we offer a holistic program that addresses not only the addiction itself but also the various psychosocial factors that led to alcohol or drug abuse in the first place.
If you or a loved one could benefit from mindfulness based cognitive therapy at Discover Recovery, get in touch with us today and take the first step toward a healthier, happier, drug-free future.