Application of Contemplative Practices in Treatment of Addiction
As an approach to treatment for addiction, Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) integrates cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness practices to reduce risk and severity of relapse to harmful, addictive cycles of behavior. Clients learn to observe seemingly “automatic” cognitive and behavioral patterns, strengthen the ability to experience triggering events without reactivity, and practice skillful and compassionate responses that ultimately serve their highest good. Clients explore the often wholesome needs underlying craving, such as desire for relief or fulfillment. They learn, through observation, that this “false refuge” may bring temporary relief, but it ultimately causes further suffering. Final sessions focus on kindness and forgiveness practices, and bring attention to the broader perspective of clients’ lives by observing factors that support or hinder their practice and recovery. Outcomes suggest MBRP, relative to standard treatments, may be helpful in shifting reactions to challenging emotional experiences (e.g., craving) and may decrease the likelihood and severity of relapse one year following treatment. Future directions of study include adaptation to adolescent and incarcerated populations, dissemination and implementation, and further exploration of the multiple processes underlying behavioral change.
Othering and Belonging