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Addiction and Relapse Prevention

Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP; Bowen, Chawla and Marlatt, 2010) is a novel treatment approach developed at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, for individuals in recovery for addictive behaviors.

MBRP is designed to bring practices of mindful awareness to individuals suffering from the addictive trappings of the mind. MBRP practices are intended to foster increased awareness of triggers, habitual patterns, and ‘automatic’ reactions that seem to control many of our lives. These practices cultivate the ability to pause, observe present experience, and bring awareness to the range of choices before each of us in every moment. Ultimately, we are working towards freedom from deeply ingrained and often catastrophic habits.

Similar to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for depression, MBRP is designed as an aftercare program integrating mindfulness practices and principles with cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention. In our experience, MBRP is best suited to individuals who have undergone initial treatment and wish to maintain their treatment gains and develop a lifestyle that supports their well-being and recovery.

The primary goals of MBRP are:

  1. Develop awareness of personal triggers and habitual reactions, and learn ways to create a pause in this seemingly automatic process.
  2. Change our relationship to discomfort, learning to recognize challenging emotional and physical experiences and responding to them in skillful ways.
  3. Foster a nonjudgmental, compassionate approach toward ourselves and our experiences.
  4. Build a lifestyle that supports both mindfulness practice and recovery.