Tag Archives: alan marlatt

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.


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.

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