Mindfulness therapy

Mindfulness therapy is a type of recovery treatment that helps people to become more aware of the present moment and learn to manage their thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness therapy is often used in addiction recovery treatment as it can help people to control their cravings and resist temptation. Mindfulness therapy is an important part of the comprehensive rehab programmes at Liberty House and it can have huge benefits during detox, rehab and after you return home to continue your recovery in aftercare and beyond.

Mindfulness therapy man meditating

How does mindfulness therapy work?

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, without judgement. Mindfulness therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts and emotions do not define us and that by paying attention to them in a non-judgmental way, we can learn to control them better. It has been shown to be effective in treating and managing conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic pain and addiction.

Mindfulness works by helping people to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and to notice when they are becoming overly attached to them or allowing them to control their behaviour. Through this awareness, the person is then able to take a moment, let those negative or unhelpful thoughts pass and make a more positive choice in how they respond.

Mindfulness for addiction recovery

In addiction recovery, mindfulness therapy can help people to deal with the emotions that may have contributed to their addiction, such as anxiety, depression or stress. Mindfulness therapy can be used in individual or group therapy sessions, or as part of a self-help programme.

Mindfulness therapy can help people in addiction recovery to:

    • Be more aware of their thoughts and feelings during difficult times or when triggers arise
    • Manage their addiction cravings and impulses
    • Stay in the present moment
    • Resist temptation and relapse
    • Deal with emotions that may have contributed to their addiction

These are all incredibly important because, despite common misconceptions, addiction is far from just a physical dependence on a particular substance. Addiction usually has deep-seated underlying emotional causes or mental health conditions which need to be addressed and effectively managed in order to achieve long-term recovery. People with an addiction are unable to control their substance use or engagement in an addictive behaviour because they are led by powerful cravings and compulsions which override any logical thought or reasoning. This is why mindfulness therapy can be so helpful in addiction recovery because it helps people to control those impulses.

What happens during a mindful therapy session?

During mindfulness therapy sessions, a therapist will guide you through various exercises designed to help you focus on the present moment. This may include things like focusing on your breath, paying attention to your body or noticing your thoughts and emotions without judging them. The therapist will also teach you how to use mindfulness in your everyday life so that you can continue to practise it outside of therapy sessions.

Two of the most common types of mindful therapy for addiction recovery are:

Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy (MBCBT)

MBCBT is a form of mindfulness therapy that helps people to change the way they think about their thoughts and emotions and how they influence their behaviour. It incorporates mindfulness techniques with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles. CBT is a type of therapy that helps people to identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviours. MBCBT has been shown to be effective in helping people in rehab to manage their addiction cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.

One common technique in MBCBT is called the three-minute breathing space. This involves focusing on your breath and allowing your thoughts and emotions to come and go without judging them. The aim is to create a “gap” between the trigger (e.g., a craving) and the reaction (e.g., using drugs). This gap gives you time to make a more mindful choice about how you want to respond.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

MBSR is a type of mindfulness therapy that helps people to manage stress and anxiety. It is helpful in addiction recovery as it can help to deal with some of the emotions that may have contributed to the addiction. MBSR involves a range of different techniques, including mindfulness meditation, yoga and body scanning.

One common technique in MBSR is called the body scan. This involves lying down and focusing on each part of your body in turn, from your toes to your head. As you focus on each part of your body, you pay attention to any sensations you feel (e.g., tightness, tingling, warmth). The aim is to notice the sensations without judging them. This can help you to become more aware of your body and how it feels. During addiction recovery, this can be helpful in managing cravings and urges as you become more aware of the physical sensations associated with them.

Is mindfulness for addiction right for me?

Everybody is different which is part of the reason Liberty House offers such a wide range of addiction therapies in our recovery programmes. The important thing is that you approach every type of therapy with an open mind.

Some people have preconceptions about mindfulness therapy such as thinking that it’s a “new age” fad that won’t work for them. However, mindfulness is an evidence-based therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating a range of mental health conditions, including addiction.

To find out more about mindfulness for addiction recovery, get in touch with Liberty House today. Our admissions team will be happy to answer any questions you have about our treatment programmes and how mindful therapy can help you to long-term sobriety.

Frequently asked questions

Is mindfulness therapy the same as yoga or meditation?
No, mindfulness therapy is a type of therapy that uses mindfulness techniques to help people recover from a range of conditions including addiction. However, yoga and meditation both incorporate mindfulness as part of their practice.
Do I need to be religious to benefit from mindfulness therapy?
No, you don’t need to be religious to benefit from mindfulness therapy. Whilst mindfulness traces its roots back to Buddhism it is a secular practice that can be beneficial for people of any belief system.