Mindfulness meditation is currently a major interest in the field of addiction treatment and relapse prevention. It is also becoming a popular modality integrated into pan management by in the work of Dr. Grinstead in Addiction-free Pain Management (APM) and in the form of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). This is because mindfulness-type meditation is a useful technique for interrupting stressful patterns of automatic self-talk or rumination that elevates stress to the point of activating craving in addictive disorders, symptoms of a mental disorder, such as depression, and activating acute episodes of pain in chronic pain patients.
The Gorski-CENAPS® Model has used forms of mindfulness meditation since the early 1980’s. In the Gorski-CENAPS Model the form of meditation used was based upon techniques used with biofeedback based upon the early research in meditation especially the work in stress and illness (Pelletier 1977) and The Peniston Protocol (Peniston 1989) used in the treatment of alcoholism The Menninger Clinic. Mindfulness Meditation has a strong basis in the Marlatt’s Model of Relapse Prevention.
The goal of using mindfulness mediation and related meditation methods in Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) is to help patients to achieve a state of consciousness often described as detached awareness. This is the same state of mind produced by mindfulness mediation. Detached Awareness is a state of consciousness that allows people to stay aware of their flow of thoughts and feelings without become attached to them. Detached awareness of thoughts and feelings, in this context, means to allow them to come into awareness without activating the the sympathetic nervous system. In other words to be able to be aware of what we are thinking and feeling without having a stress reaction or activating a fight or flight response.
In the CENAPS® Model, this involved developing the psychological system identified as the Higher Self (The Observing Self, The Silent Witness) as reported in the book Keeping The Balance by Terence T. Gorski. It involves become physically relaxed while being able to observe and then release or detach from the flow of thinking and the rise and fall of feelings and emotions. This technique was later described as Immediate Relapse Prevention Training and rapidly became a primary goal in Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) and is listed as the first skill in the Workbook entitled Starting Recovery With Relapse Prevention. The methodology was first presented in a Professional Paper authored by Terence T. Gorski and Joseph E. Troiani entitled: Application of Biofeedback To Alcoholism Treatment, Ingalls Memorial Hospital, 1976. (Currently not in print).
Pelletier, K. R. (1977). Mind as healer, mind as slayer . NY: Delta.
Peniston, E. G., & Kukolski, P. J. (1989). Alpha-theta brain wave training and beta-endorphin levels in alcoholics. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research , 13 , 271-279.
Ma, S. Helen and Teasdale, John D., Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: Replication and Exploration of Differential Relapse Prevention Effects, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2004, Vol. 72, No. 1, 31–40