By Ryan Terry, M.S. LMHC

Beaches Recovery Services, LLC

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines “mindfulness” as, “…paying attention, on purpose, in a particular way, to the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness-based treatment teaches a state of being where thought is present, but instead of it being our sole driving force, it becomes just a piece of the tapestry.

At Beaches Recovery, we specialize in progressive and evidence-based treatment programs, providing the full continuum of care through a comprehensive, holistic system including:

  • Psychiatric services
  • Individualized therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Addiction education
  • Development of healthy lifestyle skills

In keeping with our philosophy of strengthening the physical, spiritual and mental health of our clients in a welcoming recovery community, we also offer therapeutic applications, including:

  • Mindfulness training
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Skills training for specific addictive and mental health issues
  • Refuge Recovery Groups (a Buddhist Path to Recovery).

Let’s focus more on mindfulness-based treatment and how its application during the recovery process can be beneficial.

What is Mindfulness-Based Treatment?

Many times, we create stress and anxiety in our lives when we focus on the future or linger in the depression of our pasts. When we do this, it often leads to a great deal of suffering. In fact, much of addiction boils down to self-medicating because we aren’t equipped to handle certain emotions without qualified help.

The mindfulness therapy approach utilizes one’s awareness in a way that is often much different than we typically employ.  Thought and reasoning are still important; however, if left unchecked, we feel immense stress by not connecting with the present moment and all its gifts. Sometimes, we believe our thoughts as truth, and this isn’t effective for healing. Thinking isn’t the problem: not “being” is.

Current Research on Mindfulness-Based Treatment

Recently, the neuroscientific community has recognized mindfulness therapy practices, including their benefits over time and their subsequent health effects. Practicing mindfulness has shown to improve one’s sense of peace and happiness, their immune system, and even brain function.

Check out this short video to see how meditation (a mindfulness therapy activity) affects everything from brain health to the body’s ability to fight off illness.    

Therapeutic Applications for Mindfulness-Based Treatment

  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) uses meditation and yoga to cultivate awareness and reduce stress. Based on the ancient practice of mindfulness, this is about waking up, being fully alive, and being present for the richness of each moment of our lives.
  • Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), a new wave of research on meditation shows that mindfulness-based treatments can treat everything from depression to autoimmune disease to post-traumatic stress disorder. According to experts, mindfulness can also help the nearly 24 million Americans struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to find lasting recovery. Modeled after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression and mindfulness-based stress reduction, MBRP tackles the very roots of addictive behavior by targeting two of the main predictors of relapse: negative emotions and cravings. 

Treatment Centers Implement Mindfulness

  • Treatment centers, prisons, and Veterans Affairs centers across the country have implemented the program. While the treatment is still relatively young, and more research is needed to determine its long-term efficacy for various types of substance abuse, the early results look promising. A 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that, when compared to people in traditional 12-step relapse prevention programs, those in MBRP programs for substance use and heavy drinking experienced a significantly lower risk of relapse. Even people who did relapse reported significantly fewer days of substance use and heavy drinking at six-month and one-year follow-ups. There’s reason to believe that these benefits can be seen on the neurological level, too. Research shows that mindfulness training affects areas of the brain associated with craving, negative affect, and relapse.
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCBT) helps people who suffer repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind often characterizing mood disorders while simultaneously developing a new relationship to them. MBCT was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale, based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program.

Client Resources at Beaches Recovery

Beaches Recovery admission specialists will direct you to participate in our mindfulness therapies and other programs and treatments to enhance your growth in recovery.  Our menu of experiential and mindfulness therapies includes:

  • Fitness therapy
  • Surfing, hiking, walking, camping, swimming, and beachside meditation.
  • Mindfulness-based relapse prevention
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • Yoga and Tai Chi classes
  • Coping skills training for specific addictive and mental health issues
  • Refuge Recovery Groups

Explore mindfulness-based treatment practices with us at Beaches Recovery. Admissions counselors are standing by to discuss all of your options. Call us now at 866.605.0532.