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Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)

MBRP is a novel treatment approach developed at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviors.

The program is designed to bring practices of mindful awareness to individuals who have suffered from addictive tendencies. MBRP practices are intended to foster increased awareness of triggers, destructive patterns, and “automatic” reactions. 

The mindfulness practices in MBRP are designed to help individuals pause, observe present experience, and bring awareness to the range of choices before acting in every moment. The program aims to help them learn to respond in ways that serve them, instead of reacting in ways that are detrimental. The goal is to work towards freedom from deeply ingrained and often very harmful habits.

Similar to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for depression, MBRP is designed as an aftercare program that integrates mindfulness practices and principles with cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention.

The primary goals of MBRP are:

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

The MBRP program is not in conflict with the 12-Step approach. There is more in common between the two approaches, like emphasizing acceptance, letting go, and the value attributed to meditation/prayer.

In addition, the MBRP approach incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention, which focus on building the individual’s capacity to cope and increasing self-efficacy.

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