Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is a form of cognitive therapy (MBCT). MBCT teaches people how to move away from negative thought patterns that can trigger a relapse into drug or alcohol abuse. Usually, it occurs when partaking in a meditation therapy program.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Substance Abuse

The purpose of MBCT is to teach patients to understand and manage their thoughts and emotions.

MBCT was originally developed to help patients deal with depression. In a mindfulness based cognitive therapy program, the patient learns to use mindfulness to interrupt automatic thoughts that trigger substance abuse. Mindfulness means that you are living in the moment, fully aware of what you are doing and feeling. MCBT teaches patients to separate themselves from their thoughts and feelings.

In this way, patients in a mindfulness based stress reduction program can learn that simply because they feel negative emotions, helpless, depressed, anxious, etc., they don’t have to abuse drugs or alcohol. Instead, former drug or alcohol abusers can learn to inject positive thoughts and change how they feel and how they react to their emotions.a woman meditates in a field while practicing mindfulness based cognitive therapy

Typically, MBCT therapy is conducted as a weekly group treatment program lasting eight weeks. Each session lasts for 2 hours. Patients are also given a 45-minute homework assignment, 6 days a week. The homework assignment typically involves listening to audio recordings and practicing mindfulness meditation.

When people abuse drugs or alcohol, their minds are often on “autopilot”. They are unaware of how their thoughts and emotions are driving them. This is a recipe for disaster.

For example, someone may have become addicted to drugs or alcohol to deal with feelings of depression and worthlessness. Prior to undergoing MBCT, the patient would begin to feel depressed or worthless and automatically turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with these feelings.

After learning the techniques of mindfulness taught in MBCT, the patient will learn to recognize negative emotions as they develop. They will also learn to separate themselves from these feelings. Instead of allowing the depression to overwhelm them, they can choose to turn to positive thoughts, thereby avoiding a slide into drug and alcohol abuse.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Techniques

MBCT consists of a variety of techniques, including:

  1. Mindfulness Meditation – Meditation involves becoming acutely aware of your thoughts, but not attached to them.
  2. SOBER Technique – SOBER stands for Stop, Observe, Breath, Expand, Respond. This technique teaches patients to observe what they are feeling, determine what they are craving and escaping the automatic response that leads to drug abuse and drug rehab.
  3. Urge surfing – This technique teaches patients how to not respond to cravings and impulses. The patient is taught to view urges as a wave they can ride until they subside, rather than give into them.
  4. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – This form of therapy teaches clients to accept and acknowledge negative feelings. In this way, patients learn to expect and anticipate that they will experience urges to abuse drugs and alcohol. They also learn that they don’t have to give in to these urges.

The Willows at Red Oak Recovery

The Willows at Red Oak Recovery in Asheville, NC is a sanctuary for women to focus on recovery and healing. We offer substance abuse treatment for opioids, alcohol and prescription drug abuse. We also offer therapy programs, including MBCT, the 12 Step Program, and others. In addition to traditional therapy methods, we also offer holistic treatment like the meditation therapy program.

Meditation based cognitive therapy focuses on improving the patient’s mental health. It helps to reduce stress and teaches patients coping methods to help avoid relapse. Call us today at 855.773.0614 to learn how we can help you to overcome the nightmare of addiction.