Mindfulness Exercise for Substance Use
by Devin Ashwood

Mastery in Minutes

Do you have clients struggling with addictions? “Urge Surfing” is a simple yet effective mindfulness technique you can teach clients to help them manage the stressors that could potentially trigger relapses.
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We hear a lot about mindfulness these days, but it’s not always clear how to actually incorporate it effectively into psychotherapy or in this case, addiction treatment. In this demonstration you’ll see an example of a mindfulness exercise that is specifically focused on helping clients experience their cravings while not acting on them. The facilitator, Devin Ashwood, uses the metaphor of “Urge Surfing”—riding through the waves of cravings—to give his group members an opportunity to observe their own internal urges, whether manifested as bodily sensations, thoughts, or emotions, and realize that, although uncomfortable, the urges were not intolerable.

Although this is demonstrated in a group setting, this technique can be applied in individual therapy; and while the focus here is on substance use, patients who experience other forms of addictions can also benefit from learning this simple tool for tolerating emotional and sometimes, physical discomfort in order to ultimately move beyond cravings.

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Available only to our members and subscribers. Find out how to access this video for individual use, for more than one person using multiple-user access, or for use in academic institutions.

Length of video: 0:20:16

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-593-9

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-593-9

Devin Ashwood has worked in a range of substance misuse settings and is currently program leader and lecturer in addictions counseling for the Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies and the University of Bath. His specialties include mindfulness, interpersonal group therapy and cognitive therapy. He has been working in private practice as a therapist and supervisor for over ten years and has been delivering and teaching interpersonal group therapy since 2006. Devin’s work with the Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) authors Sarah Bowen and Neha Chawla has helped develop and deliver a version of MBRP compatible with rolling treatment programs as well as an advanced training pathway for mindfulness teachers. He has been practicing mindfulness since 1999 and has studied with, and conducted research at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice on the University of Bangor’s master’s program. Devin leads a number of meditation groups and retreats throughout the year including offering his time as a Buddhist Chaplain to the prison service.
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