MBSR and Addiction Treatment

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn through the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He studied Eastern philosophy and practices, yet is a scientist at heart, having earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Although MBSR was originally used for patients from the hospital as an adjunct healing practice and way of dealing with anything from chronic pain to recovery from surgery and substance abuse, it has grown to be included in various forms in medical and behavioral institutions throughout the world as a non-religious practice.

Kabat-Zinn wrote about the elements in the MBSR program in his book Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness. In the preface of the book, there are lists of examples of scientific research studies done with various applications of the MBSR program to improve recovery rates and symptoms of conditions and ailments, and these also apply to a an addiction treatment setting.

“In summary,” he wrote, “mindfulness is not merely a good idea or a nice philosophy. If it is to have any value for us at all, it needs to be embodied in our everyday lives, to whatever degree we can manage without forcing or straining – in other words, with a light and gentle touch, thereby nurturing self-acceptance, kindness, and self-compassion. Mindfulness meditation is increasingly becoming an integral part of both the American and the world landscape.”

Sometimes people link mindfulness to only sitting meditation, but that is only one part of it, as there are many ways to apply its principles. These methods help develop a greater ability to pay attention and increase awareness moment to moment in a non-judgmental way.

How Does this Apply in Addiction Treatment?

The innate ability for us to recover from a variety of things from which we suffer, physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise, is a key tenet. Focusing on our resilience and what is right with us, rather than sickness and what is wrong, helps to direct attention to things in our lives that produce much healthier and happier outcomes, even in times of heavy stress. Applying these practices daily means less chances for relapse and a healthier overall way of life, which is why it is such a powerful tool in addiction treatment.

We have several facilitators and clinical staff who are well versed in MBSR practices and use these principles as part of their lessons, as just one of the many components of our program. If you are looking for a truly unique and effective form of treatment for substance abuse, contact us today and find out more about these and other elements of our program.

Below is a video that was recorded of Kabat-Zinn explaining our relationship to thought, which also coincides with many of the teachings at Centered Recovery.