Category Archives: MBRP: Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention

New training pathways for MBSR and MBCT teachers now available through UC San Diego

By Steven Hickman, PsyD, Director, UCSD Center for Mindfulness

“How can I become a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?” I cannot begin to calculate how many times I have been asked this question in the past ten years as a teacher of the MBSR program. I am constantly moved and touched by the people in my classes and the tremendous change and healing that can happen through the regular practice of mindfulness. This profound impact on people has more recently manifested in a huge demand among people touched by the practice who wish to share it with others. As MBSR programs have spread across this country and the world, there is a growing (and unprecedented) need to provide well-designed training for those who wish to teach MBSR and share this practice with a wide variety of people and groups in a whole host of settings.

Susan Woods

That is why I am particularly excited to announce that two highly qualified mindfulness teachers and trainers, Susan Woods and Char Wilkins, will be teaching our first 5-Day Foundational Training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for professionalson June 2-7, 2013 at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.  Intended to support and develop people along their path toward teaching MBSR, this intimate foundational training will provide attendees the opportunities to learn in depth about the program, but more importantly to explore it “from the inside out” in the role of teacher, through small group exercises, mindful feedback and reflection.

Char Wilkins

The second of our two new trainings, also taught by Susan Woods and Char Wilkins, is the 5-day Advanced Professional Training for MBCT/MBSR Teachers, June 9-14, 2013 at EarthRise Retreat Center in Petaluma, California.  The demand for advanced training in mindfulness-based interventions has grown over the years and a foundational professional training is just the beginning of becoming a skilled and knowledgeable teacher.  This ground-breaking advanced training brings together, for the first time in the U.S., both MBCT and MBSR teachers allowing for a rich learning experience.  Susan has designed a training in which there is less dependence on teaching to the curricula of either MBCT/MBSR, and greater attention to strengthening core competency skills allied with teaching mindfulness. The heart of this program lies in closely attending to and strengthening the development of universal mindfulness principles such as investigating how one comes to understand and embody mindful presence and mindful reflective inquiry.

The training model that has evolved here at UCSD has proved to be efficient and effective. By providing intense retreat-style trainings that combine personal mindfulness practice, experiential learning of the curriculum and opportunities to guide practices, engage in mindful inquiry and take part in dialogue with skilled teachers, we have found that our participants leave feeling prepared to actually begin the important work of leading Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI’s).

Thus begins the next phase in the development of the Professional Training programs at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. This new pathway toward becoming an MBSR teacher is situated alongside intensive training in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), and Mindful Eating, Conscious Living (MECL). The longer-term goal is the establishment of an entire UC San Diego Mindfulness-Based Training Institute that incorporates foundational aspects of all the MBI’s, specific training in the various curricula, opportunities for live consultation and supervision, and ultimately a process of certification in specific MBI’s. The Training Institute is only in its infancy, but arises out of this increasing demand for training and the assurance of competency in delivery of these wonderful programs that are becoming increasingly popular and are being demonstrated through rigorous research to be effective. 

Registration is now open for both the Advanced Training for MBCT/MBSR Teachers and the 5-Day Foundational Training in MBSR and we expect both to fill up quickly. Plans are also in the works to offer these trainings on an ongoing basis, so if these dates don’t work for your schedule, join our mailing list on our Professional Training website to be notified of upcoming additions to the schedule.

 

Hear Austin’s Mindful Experiences Recovering from Drug Addiction at the Thailand New Life Foundation

Austin began using drugs as a teenager. His addiction progressed for several years until he wound up in rehab in the U.S. Afterward he substituted alcohol for drugs. at New Life Foundation in Thailand, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga helped him discover the root of his problems. Today he is clean sober and starting a new career.

If you are a professional working in the field of recovery from drug addiction there is still time to register for our UCSD Center for Mindfulness Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Retreat (MBRP), April 1-6, 2012, being hosted at the beautiful EarthRise Retreat Center, in Petaluma, CA.

Shambhala Sun Features Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) in latest issue

One Moment at a Time, is the title of a recent item in David Swick’s column The Mindful Society published in the most recent edition of Shambhala Sunabout the relationship between mindfulness and substance use disorders. The article specifically highlights Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) and the work of the late G. Alan Marlatt, Sarah Bowen and colleagues at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington. 

By Blair Buckman

Most of us are looking for magical solutions to solve our problems instantaneously. Some of us turn to indulgences like ice cream for a quick fix, and others habitually turn to more harmful addictive substances, like alcohol or drugs. Addiction affects millions of individuals and their families each year and can be an insurmountable obstacle for many. Dr. Lawerence Peltz, a Massachusetts psychiatrist, describes mindfulness as “the microscopic version of One Day at a Time,” adding “it’s One Moment at a Time.”

Much of the research on mindfulness and addiction is conducted at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle, established by the late Alan Marlatt. Dr. Sarah Bowen and her colleagues there have conducted a number of studies on the topic, including a study examining mindfulness implementation among previously imprisoned drug and alcohol offenders. She found that by learning mindfulness practices, they were able to recognize internal triggers without responding to them, therefore reducing the likelihood of returning to drug and alcohol use as compared to control subjects that did not receive mindfulness training. Their MBRP program was modeled after Segal, Teasdale and Williams’ Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBRP assists people in developing awareness of what their triggers and habits are, in addition to changing how we respond to physical and emotional discomfort. Furthermore, MBRP assists in developing a compassionate and nonjudgmental mindset.

The program emphasizes meditation practices and implementation of mindfulness practices in daily life in order to regain control of our attention and actions. Bowen and colleagues will be integrating mindfulness meditation practices and utilizing demonstration, role-play, simulated exercises, and inquiry to teach MBRP in a 5-day intensive retreat training through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness at the EarthRise Retreat Center in Petaluma, California in April 2012. More information about the training is available through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness.

We invite you to read the full text of David Swick’s article, in the November issue of the Shambhala Sun, available on newsstands now.

 

Bringing Affectionate Curiosity to Urges and Cravings: Mindfulness as a Means to Prevent Relapse for Women in Early Recovery

Zayda Vallejo

Zayda Vallejo, M.Litt is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher and professional trainer, and co-developed a Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Program for women in addiction recovery for the Boston Public Health Commission. Zayda is the newest addition to the faculty of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, joining Sarah Bowen and Joel Grow to lead the 5-Day Professional Training in Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) at the EarthRise Retreat Center in Petaluma, CA on April 1-6, 2012. The following article describes some of her important work in applying mindfulness (and MBRP) to relapse prevention specifically in a unique population.

The following is a description of the process of adapting the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) to work with women in early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, enrolled in three residential substance abuse treatment programs, and in one outpatient program, located in an urban center in Massachusetts. Most participants started the intervention two to three weeks after detoxification treatment. A total of 318 women (45% Latina, 35% Black, 20% White) completed baseline interviews. Two hundred and sixty-two women enrolled in the classes, and 61% completed the intervention. The aim was to provide skills training for relapse prevention.

Addressing Barriers
The most important change was the redirecting of MBSR into a program focused on the role of stress in relapse. This was accomplished in part by teaching the participants to become aware of the cravings and urges, with the intention to observe them with a certain spaciousness and affectionate curiosity. A drawing of a triangle with thoughts, feelings/emotions, and body sensations represented in a corresponding apex was presented in every class and created a visual tool that the women remembered easily. By separating the emotions, bodily sensations, and thoughts, and paying attention to each one individually in a systematic way, with moment-to-moment awareness, intending to hold judgments lightly, participants gradually began to feel freedom in choosing their responses instead of continuing with their habitual automatic ways of reacting. Most participants found this visual exercise and the freedom experienced very helpful.

Each class had a theme related to areas that were meaningful to the participants. Some of the class themes included intra- and interpersonal mindfulness, understanding how perceptions could compromise treatment and lead to relapse, and learning how to use mindfulness skills to relate differently to feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, fear, guilt, and shame.

The four practices employed in the traditional MBSR classes were used but the length, sequence, and ways of presenting them varied substantially. The body scan was shortened to reduce potential interference from trauma experience. It was performed in a sitting or standing position, non-sequentially, and interspersed with yoga movements. The eyes were open to promote a sense of safety. The scan began with the feet and legs, followed by yoga for the feet and legs. This process was repeated for all the different parts of the body. Instead of a detailed scan of the pelvic area and breasts, the revised body scan focused on the abdominal area and front of the chest. At times, movement took place first followed by the scanning in order to enhance connectivity with the body.  Though the participants did not do a lengthy body scan they would usually practice daily a two or three minute scanning of the body.

Walking meditation was preceded by very fast walking, decreasing the speed gradually and ending in the mountain pose. After that the participants could do walking meditation at a slow pace. The goal was to meet the women where they were, matching the movement to the agitation and pent-up energy they would exhibit and then progressively slow down.

Sounds were an easier gateway to awareness than the breath. Sitting meditation started with sounds, progressed to body sensations, and then the breath. Participants initially experienced the breath as boring and abstract. At times, it also triggered flashbacks for some of the women with trauma histories that included choking or a hand being held over their mouths. Interestingly, even though the breath was very difficult to connect with at the beginning, when asked in six and twelve month follow-up interviews, the women often reported that awareness of breath was the ‘tool’ that they practiced on a regular basis and the most helpful to ride cravings, urges, and impulses.

Hatha yoga, called mindful stretching exercises to avoid connotation of a religious nature that exists in some Spanish speaking regions, was the basic staple, and it was performed in any of the segments if the mood of the participants was too lethargic or too distracted. Participants enjoyed both the floor and standing yoga and often mentioned how helpful it was for lower back pain, shoulder and neck pain, and to release tension.

It must be noted that these adaptations were temporary ‘bridges’ until the women had the internal resources to do the practice similarly to the regular MBSR program. For example, during the half day retreat on week seven, women were able to do a body scan lying down on the floor for 45 minutes with no perceived adverse reactions.

Conclusion
The most important change was reframing the approach to focus on relapse prevention. Due to the participants’ trauma histories, short attention span, and low literacy, the language needed to be simplified and more visual components added. The length of the practices was shortened and the sequence and ways of presenting them were changed substantially.

In summary, MBSR is beneficial as an adjunct intervention in residential treatment facilities with individuals in early recovery. However, we found that adaptations were needed in order for the participants to see the program as relevant to their recovery. The participants needed to understand how the skills and tools learned could help them hold or relate to the stress in their daily life with less suffering and more compassion for themselves and those around them.

MBRP Scholarship Offered to Honor G. Alan Marlatt

In honor of his life-long and sustaining contributions to the field of clinical psychology and the treatment of substance use disorders, the UCSD Center for Mindfulness is pleased to announce a scholarship program in the name of G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D.

As a pioneer in his field and one of the developers of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Dr. Marlatt had a keen and longstanding interest in fostering the careers and aspirations of professionals (and future professionals) seeking to work in the area of relapse prevention in substance use disorders. In keeping with his interest, the UCSD Center for Mindfulness has established two $500 scholarships toward attendance at the upcoming MBRP 5-Day Professional Training in Rochester, New York, September 11-16, 2011.

The scholarships are available to anyone wishing to attend the training who may face some financial hardship that may prevent them from attending. A brief essay is all that is required to apply for the funding, and the submission deadline is July 11, 2011. For more detailed information, see the UCSD CFM Professional Training website. Please feel free to circulate this information to students, colleagues and other interested professionals.

Riding the Wave, Surfing the Urge: Study Suggests Mindfulness May Help with Cigarette Cravings

By Jenny Rogojanski, M.A.

A new study published in this month’s edition of Mindfulness highlights the potential utility of mindfulness for coping with cigarette cravings among smokers.  This study compared the effectiveness of urge surfing, a brief mindfulness-based strategy developed by Alan Marlatt, to an alternate suppression-based strategy for coping with cigarette cravings. Participants in this study were randomly assigned to use one of the two coping strategies to manage their cravings during an experimental exposure to cues associated with cigarette smoking. Seven days later, participants returned to complete a follow-up assessment.

First Author, Jenny Rogojanski

Results from this study indicated that participants in both groups experienced a significant reduction in their amount of smoking when they returned for the follow-up assessment, as compared to their amount of smoking prior to learning their respective coping strategy. Participants in both groups also reported an increase in their self-efficacy for coping with smoking urges at the 7-day follow-up assessment. However, only those participants taught to use the urge surfing technique demonstrated the incremental benefit of reduced levels of negative affect and depressive symptoms at the follow-up assessment. These findings indicate that while both the mindfulness and suppression strategies may be associated with improvements on smoking related outcomes, mindfulness was unique for its beneficial impact on reported emotional functioning over the course of the study. These findings also provide preliminary support for the use of mindfulness-based strategies for coping with smoking urges, as these strategies appear to provide some additional benefits not obtained when coping with smoking cravings through suppression.

References
Rogojanski, J., Vettese, L. C., & Antony, M. M. (2011). Coping with cigarette cravings: Comparison of suppression versus mindfulness-based strategies. Mindfulness, 2, 14-26.

We Have Lost a Valued Friend and Pioneer

It is with great sadness that we report that Dr. G. Alan Marlatt passed away this morning at 9:40 am. Alan was a kind and generous man with whom we had the pleasure of working the past couple years in conjunction with the training he and his team offered in Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) through UCSD. We are all quite saddened and shocked at the news of the death of this well-respected and widely honored psychologist, colleague and friend.

For those who may be unfamiliar with his work, here are some highlights copied from the biography of him on Wikipedia:

G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., was Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington and Director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at that institution. He received hisPh.D. in clinical psychology from Indiana University in 1968. After serving on the faculties of the University of British Columbia (1968-1969) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1969-1972), he joined the University of Washington faculty in the fall of 1972. He has conducted pioneering research in three areas: harm reductionbrief interventions, and relapse prevention.

In 1996, Dr. Marlatt was appointed as a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). He served as the President of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors from 1983-1984; President of the Section for the Development of Clinical Psychology as an Experimental-Behavioral Science of the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of the American Psychological Association), 1985-1986; and President of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, 1991-1992.

Marlatt’s books include Alcoholism: New Directions in Behavioral Research and Treatment (1978), Relapse Prevention: Maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviors (1985, 2005), Assessment of Addictive Behaviors (1985; 2005), Addictive Behaviors Across the Lifespan (1993), Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviors (1998), Changing Addictive Behavior (1999), and Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) Manual (1999), The Tao of Sobriety: Helping You to Recover from Alcohol and Drug Addiction (2002), and Therapist’s Guide to Evidence-Based Relapse Prevention (2007). In addition, he published over 200 book chapters and journal articles and served on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals, including the Journal of Consulting and Clinical PsychologyJournal of Abnormal PsychologyAddictive Behaviors, and Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Marlatt received continuous funding for his research from a variety of agencies including the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 1990, Marlatt was awarded The Jellinek Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to knowledge in the field of alcohol studies from the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. In 2001, he was given the Innovators in Combating Substance Abuse Award by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and in 2004 he received the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism. He received the Distinguished Psychologist award for Professional Contribution to Knowledge from the Washington State Psychological Association in 1990 and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology in 2000.

We will miss you Alan, but your work will live on through your writings, your teaching and your mentorship of many bright and talented students and former students.

NOTE: We invite you to pay tribute to Dr. Marlatt by adding any comments or observations you have about him, his work and his legacy in our field.

Dealing With the Classic MBSR Week 8 Question: Will Your Butt Be On The Cushion Tomorrow?

Perhaps the number one question asked by participants in MBSR or MBCT groups is: “Where can I go to continue to practice in a group?” The question behind the question is “How will I sustain the momentum I have built up over the past 8 weeks and continue to formally practice mindfulness?” We frequently suggest to our participants that they connect with each other to form small sitting groups. This article from mindful.org provides some nice guidelines for doing just that. We will refer folks to this helpful piece to support them in their practice.

Cheers! Here’s to Wonderful Old Wine in Amazing New Mindfulness-Based Bottles

By Steven Hickman, Psy.D.
Director, UCSD Center for Mindfulness

A colleague of mine emailed me yesterday to ask my advice. She had submitted a paper for publication in a respected scientific journal that looked at one particular aspect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). One of the reviewers, apparently intending it as a significant criticism, asked if MBSR wasn’t just “old wine in new bottles”, noting that Carl Rogers and Gestalt therapists had been bringing mindfulness into psychotherapy years before anyone had heard of MBSR. She wanted to know how to respond to this rather stern criticism of her very thoughtful and innovative work.

I told her that she should agree with the reviewer.

Mindfulness is indeed, VERY old wine. Relatively speaking, MBSR and all the rest of the mindfulness-based interventions being devised and deployed in clinical practice these days are indeed quite new “bottles.” But nobody has suggested otherwise! From the beginning, Jon Kabat-Zinn (MBSR) , Marsha Linehan (Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT), Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – MBCT) and other treatment developers have openly and reverently acknowledged the very deep and ancient roots of mindfulness, mindfulness practice and the wisdom of drawing on these roots for the relief of suffering.

In his book Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes:

Although at this time mindfulness meditation is most commonly taught and practiced within the context of Buddhism, its essence is universal. Mindfulness is basically just a particular way of paying attention. It is a way of looking deeply into oneself in the spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding. For this reason it can be learned and practiced, as we do in the stress clinic, without appealing to Oriental culture or Buddhist authority to enrich it or authenticate it. Mindfulness stands on its own as a powerful vehicle for self-understanding and healing. In fact, one of its major strengths is that it is not dependent on any belief system or ideology, so that its benefits are therefore accessible for anyone to test for himself or herself. Yet it is no accident that mindfulness comes out of Buddhism, which has as its overriding concerns the relief of suffering and the dispelling of illusions. (p. 12-13)

But where the analogy of old wine in new bottles falls apart, is that the “bottles” or the interventions themselves are an integral part of what makes these new programs effective and powerful. These are not meditation classes or silent retreats at remote monasteries, but fully thought out, carefully devised and thoroughly researched psychological interventions that honor the roots of their “wine” and skillfully bring it to suffering individuals in very systematic, deliberate and empirically-supported ways.

A plethora of studies have established MBSR as an effective intervention for addressing the suffering associated with chronic pain, cancer, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and ADHD, just to name a few (Grossman, 2004)(Hofmann, 2010). The 8-week program has been shown to not only reduce a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, but more recently has been shown to bring about structural, measurable changes in the brain itself. Constructed thoughtfully, MBSR has a relatively standardized protocol and logical progression that has consistently (for over 30 years) guided skeptical novices (facing the full spectrum of illness and symptoms, both medical and psychological) through a series of specific exercises and homework practices to a place of ease and equanimity that motivates them to want to continue various forms of mindfulness and meditation practice for years to come.

Focused on helping people alter their relationship with the experiences of their lives (whether those experiences are physical symptoms like pain, or mental phenomena like critical thoughts), mindfulness practice exposes options and flexibility that many never realized they had. One patient of mine with chronic neck and back pain (and significant depression as well) said it best when he noted, “I’ve been a tough guy all my life. I learned to play hurt in sports, to claw my way to the top of my field, and even to fight every day with this horrendous pain. What mindfulness allowed me to do was to see that I could dance with my pain.”

A recent randomized clinical trial reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry by Zindel Segal and his colleagues has established MBCT as an equally effective treatment to antidepressant medication in preventing relapse in previously depressed patients (Segal et al. 2010). Based upon the twin foundations of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness, MBCT is being implemented with a wider and wider variety of diagnostic populations with repeated (if still somewhat preliminary) success. The heart of MBCT is encouraging the patient to simply notice the activity and patterns of the mind, adopting a “decentered” stance toward thinking in which thoughts are experienced as arising phenomena in awareness and not fact or imperative. The patient begins to become aware of the constructions of the mind, the “stories” if you will, that the mind constructs around the actuality of experience. The unreturned wave of a friend soon balloons into yet another indication that one is not worthy of friendship. The flutter of a heartbeat in a stressful situation soon billows into the anxious mushroom cloud of the specter of a heart attack.  And the patient learns to adopt an abiding presence that notices these processes and recognizes the option to not become entangled in them in the way in which they have in the past.

In his 1923 encyclopedia article “Psycho-Analysis,” Freud noted that “the attitude which the analytic physician could most advantageously adopt was . . . a state of evenly suspended attention, to avoid so far as possible reflection and the construction of conscious expectations.”

“Construction of conscious expectations” indeed! And with some perspective and “evenly suspended attention” one can encounter the frightful booming Wizard of Oz and also notice the presence of the pathetic little man behind the curtain. Thoughts are not facts. “Don’t believe everything you think,” says the bumper sticker.

It is my observation that mindfulness, at its essence, is not a treatment in and of itself. It is a very important component of all good treatment, whether explicitly named or not. It is the attitude that we embody when we work with clients and patients, the space we create with them in the therapy room, and healing force that works in them when they encounter what they have often encountered and respond in a healthy way rather than react in a habitual way. And it can also be utilized in a very specific, explicit and replicable way to address a variety of psychological disorders.

I happily and gratefully acknowledge the roots of the old wine in its “new bottles.” And raise my glass to toast those who have applied their considerable wisdom, experience and intelligence to finding ways to relieve suffering in thousands, if not millions of our fellow human beings.

Cheers!

NOTE: This article will be appearing in the upcoming edition of the newsletter of the California Psychological Association.
REFERENCES:
Kabat-Zinn, J. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. New York: Delta. 1990

Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt and Walach Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis Journal of Psychosomatic Research/Vol 57 (No. 1), July 2004

Hofmann SG, Sawyer AT, Witt AA, Oh D. The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. J Consult Clin Psychol./Vol 78 (No. 2), Apr 2010

Segal, Bieling, Young, MacQueen, Cooke, Martin, Bloch and Levitan Antidepressant Monotherapy vs Sequential Pharmacotherapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, or Placebo, for Relapse Prophylaxis in Recurrent Depression Arch Gen Psychiatry/Vol 67 (No. 12), Dec 2010

Upcoming MBCT Teacher Training Intensive: An opportunity to practice, learn and grow

Learning to lead Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) groups is much more of a process than a destination. Experienced MBCT facilitators and mindfulness teachers Susan Woods and Char Wilkins will soon be gathering with a small group of professionals who have had the opportunity to lead MBCT or other mindfulness-based groups, to more fully delve into the intricacies, challenges, potentialities and pitfalls of this work. Entitled MBCT Teacher Training Intensive (MBCT-TTI), this event takes place March 20-25, 2011 at the EarthRise Retreat Center in Petaluma, California, just north of San Francisco.

Focused largely upon the practice and skill of mindful inquiry (as described quite effectively in Susan’s recent paper on the subject, entitled Transparency in the Art of Teaching Inquiry in the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program) this intensive training environment combines aspects of retreat (extended periods of practice, silence and reflection) with a significant degree of experiential learning, supplemented with didactic material.

All unfolding within the beauty of the rolling hills of Sonoma County, just minutes north of the Golden Gate, this training affords attendees an opportunity to develop as teachers, therapists, practitioners and human beings.  Retreat-style accommodations are supplemented by light, healthy and largely organic fare with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, organics and an attention to presentation and detail that nicely supports the work of mindfulness.

There are still a few slots available if you or a colleague would be interested in attending. For details, visit the UCSD Center for Mindfulness Professional Training website, or contact the director, Steven Hickman at shickman@ucsd.edu