Tag Archives: MBRP

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.

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.

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.

Tara Brach praises new MBRP manual

MBRP ManualGuilford Press has recently released Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors by Sarah Bowen, Neha Chawla and G. Allan Marlatt, the developers of MBRP.

Respected author of Radical Acceptance and mindfulness teacher  Tara Brach recently praised the book,  noting that “Mindfulness is the single most powerful tool available for those seeking freedom from addiction. Drawing on their notable wealth of research and clinical experience, Bowen et al. have created a groundbreaking relapse prevention program. For any therapist drawn to the practice of mindfulness, this guide provides a clear, accessible, and sensitive way to engage clients in a process of deep transformation and healing.”

The new book is described as  a detailed description of the 8-week program designed for clients in early recovery from addictive behaviors. The guide offers detailed curricula for each session, examples of client-therapist exchanges, meditation exercises, and discussions of issues that commonly arise in sessions. It is intended for clinicians with a strong background in mindfulness meditation who are interested in using mindfulness-based practices to offer clients new skills to meet the day-to-day challenges of recovery.

The MBRP program, adapted from MBSR and MBCT, integrates mindfulness practices with evidence-based cognitive and behavioral strategies. The practices are designed to help clients raise awareness of triggers and reactions, learn new ways to relate to discomfort (e.g., emotional distress or craving), and relate to one’s own experiences, whatever they may be, with compassion and a sense of space that allows for skillful choice versus habitual reactivity.

The MBRP developers will be leading a 5-Day Professional Training in MBRP through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness in March 2011 in Southern California as well as another one in Rochester, New York in September 2011.