Specialist Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Module 1




MBRP (Bowen, Chawla and Marlatt, 2011) is a novel treatment approach developed at the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Although this model has been most robustly tested in substance misuse populations, the principles apply equally well to any behaviours with a compulsive element including: gambling, eating disorders, self-harm, aggression and compulsive sexual behaviours.


The program is designed to develop mindful awareness in individuals who have suffered from the addictive tendencies of the mind. MBRP practices are intended to foster increased awareness of triggers, destructive habitual patterns, and “automatic” reactions that seem to control many of our lives. The mindfulness practices in MBRP are designed to help us pause, observe present experience, and bring awareness to the range of choices before each of us in every moment. Ultimately, we are working towards freedom from deeply ingrained and sometimes catastrophic habits.


Similar to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for depression, MBRP is designed as an aftercare program integrating mindfulness practices and principles with cognitive-behavioural relapse prevention. In our experience, MBRP is best suited to individuals who are not currently engaging in addictive behaviours, but who wish develop a lifestyle that supports their well-being and recovery from these.


There is good evidence that the MBRP model is successful at reducing both craving and substance use with improved outcomes compared to treatment as usual and other cognitive behavioural approaches (Bowen et al., 2014). MBRP has also been successfully adapted to other populations (Sancho et al., 2018).


What is involved?

This course is taught over six days, the training offers participants an opportunity to appreciate the intentions and specifics of the MBRP programme in a nurturing and supportive environment that includes space for an appreciation of the links between personal practice and teaching. Students will develop and refine their teaching skills and explore the underpinning integration of scientifically tested approaches to addiction with ancient wisdom and meditation techniques.

We will practice in small and large groups, engaging in and leading mindfulness exercises before enquiring into them. Reflecting and feeding back on our work together will offer helpful support for our growing edges. Participants will have opportunities to practice teaching skills and to explore the experience of this.


Who is the programme for?

The course is open both to experienced mindfulness-based teachers, and newer teachers who want to develop MBRP teaching skills. It is particularly suitable for clinicians implementing MBRP in substance misuse contexts, and is relevant to those who want to develop greater clarity about how to attune to and respond to participant vulnerability during mindfulness-based teaching. 

All participants should have:

  • Personal experience of a MBRP, MBCT, MBSR or similar 8 week course.
  • 5 days Mindfulness silence retreat participation at an accredited entity (e.g., Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness, Gaia House, CFM UMASS, Vipassana Meditation)
  • An established personal mindfulness practice.
  • An appreciation of cognitive behavioural psychology and therapy.
  • Ideally a professional background and/or equivalent knowledge and experience of the populations that the programme will be delivered to.


If you are unsure whether the programme is suitable for you please contact the programme teacher devin1649@gmail.com)



6 Day MBRP Specialist training


Course Aim

To build on personal mindfulness experience and previous teacher training and support participants tod eliver the MBRP curriculum with an appreciation of the particularities of the course content and teaching style.


Course Objectives

  • To encourage deepening personal practice.
  • To encourage deepening f teaching practice.
  • To consider MBRP teaching with specific populati.
  • To devel understanding f the interacti between course curriculum, context and populati.


Learning outcomes

Participants will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge f the MBRP curriculum
  • Experience participati and delivery f the MBRP curriculum specific elements, particularly the interactive workshop exercises.
  • Understand the intenti f MBRP
  • Understand processes involved in addictive behaviour and relapse and the proposed mechanisms of MBRP
  • Understand the culture f MBRP teaching -­‐ differentiating between MBRP and mindfulness-­‐based
  • Deepen connecti between personal practice and teaching.


PLEASE NOTE: Course tuition will be in English.


Trainer biography:

Devin Ashwood - An upbringing and early life that offered first-hand experience of substance misuse and poverty created personal challenges, but also the motivation to grow beyond these conditions and become a person who is able to support others.
I have worked therapeutically, as a trainer and leader in a range of addiction treatment settings for over twelve years.   I was Program Leader and Lecturer in addictions counselling at the Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies and the University of Bath and have become the primary Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention teacher trainer in the UK.  I’ve been practicing mindfulness daily for the past 20 years. I received a first class Master’s Degree in Mindfulness Based Approaches from the University of Bangor and teach mindfulness to professionals and clients. I also organize and lead a number of meditation groups and retreats throughout the year, including working as a Buddhist Chaplain to the prison service for the past 10 years.  For the past three years, I have worked as the Director at the Gaia House meditation retreat centre. 



- Ashwood, D & Rowley, J., (2016). Improving Addiction Workforce Skills. In W. Mistral. (Ed.), Integrated Approaches to Drug & Alcohol Problems: Action on Addiction. London, UK: Routledge. 

- Ashwood, D. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Addictions 1: Core Practices. UK:  Action on Addiction & Psychotherapy.net. Available on-line: https://www.psychotherapy.net/video/mindfulness-based-relapse-prevention-for-addiction 

- Ashwood, D. (2015). Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Addictions 2: MBRP. UK:  Action on Addiction & Psychotherapy.net. Available on-line: https://www.psychotherapy.net/video/mindfulness-based-relapse-prevention-for-addiction 

- Ashwood, D. & Leighton, T. (2015).  Group Therapy for Addictions: An Interpersonal Relapse Prevention Approach. UK:  Action on Addiction / Psychotherapy.net. . Available on-line: https://www.psychotherapy.net/video/group-therapy-addiction 

- Ashwood, D., (2014). Buddhism and Addiction. In A. Pycroft. (Ed.), Key concepts in substance misuse (pp. 134-143). London, UK: Sage. 

Key reference for the MBRP model and evidence base:

- Bowen, S., Chawla, N., & Marlatt, G. A. (2011). Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors: A Clinician’s Guide(1st ed.). London: Guilford Press.

- Bowen, S., Witkiewitz, K., Clifasefi, S. L., Grow, J., Chawla, N., Hsu, S. H., Carroll, H. A., Harrop, E., Collins, S. E., Lustyk, M. K. & Larimer, M.E. (2014). Relative Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention, Standard Relapse Prevention, and Treatment as Usual for Substance Use Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry; 71(5), 547-556.

- Sancho, M., De Gracia, M., Rodríguez, R. C., Mallorquí-Bagué, N., Sánchez-González, J., Trujols, J., ... & Menchón, J. M. (2018). Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of substance and behavioral addictions: a systematic review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 95.



Course Outline


Daily Timings
Day start: 9:00am
Lunch: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Day End: 5:00pm (excerpt day 5 which is 5:30pm)


Day 1: Morning: Welcome and Orientation, Session 1 & 2

   9:00 Arrive & tea

   9:30 General Welcome and Introductions

   11:00 Break

   11:15 Setting the stage for the week

   12:15 Sitting meditation

   12:30 Lunch

   1:30   SESSION ONE: Automatic Pilot and Relapse

   3:15   Break

   3:30   SESSION TWO: Awareness of Triggers and Craving

   5:00   End day


Day 2: Session 3, 4 & 5

   9:00    SESSION THREE: Mindfulness in Daily Life

   10:05  SESSION FOUR: Mindfulness in High-Risk Situations

   11:15  Break      

   12:30 Lunch (silent?)

   2:45    break

   3:00    SESSION FIVE: Acceptance and Skillful Action

   4:30    (Q & A)

   5:00    End day


Day 3: Session 6, 7 & 8

     9:00    SESSION SIX: Seeing Thoughts as Thoughts

   10:00  Q & A

  11:00   Break

  11:15   SESSION SEVEN: Self-Care and Lifestyle Balance

   11:50 SESSION EIGHT: Social Support and Continuing Practice

   12:30  Lunch

   1:30    Theory & Evidence

   3:30    Break

   3:45    Q&A

   5:00    End Day



   9:00    Sitting

   9:30    Mindful movement

   10:15  Silent break

   10:30  Sitting

   11:00  Walking

   11:30  Sitting

   12:00  Movement

   12:30  Lunch (silent)

   2:00    Walking, 4 modes group walk?

   3:15    Sitting

   3:45    Break (silent)

   4:00    Coming out of silence

   4:30    Discuss Teachbacks

   4:50    Home Practice

   5:00    End Day


Day 5: Teachbacks

   9:00    Raisin Exercise

   10:00  Body Scan (pairs)

   11:00  Break

   11:15  Walking down the street

   12:00  Lunch

   1:30    Home Practice Review

   2:15    Urge surfing

   3:15    Break

   3:45    Sober (pairs)

   3:30    Walking Meditation

   4:00    Movement

   5:00    Group Discussion of teachbacks (and tomorrow’s exercises)

   5:30    End day


Day 6: Teachbacks

     9:00    Sitting: sound, breath, body, emotions, thoughts, closing (in circle)

   10:00  Thoughts (What are thoughts? Labeling, Thoughts on a Stream)

   10:30  Break

   10:45  Relapse Chain

   12:00 Daily Activities

   12:30  Lunch

   1:30    Metta

   2:15    Break

   2:30    Q&A - special interest topics

   3:30    Brief Sitting

   3:40    Offering/Sharing

   4:40    Closing (stones/metta)

   5:00    Day ends



Faculty of Education and Psychology – Universidade Católica Portuguesa premises at Porto – Foz Campus (TBC).



Tuition: 900 euros




The limit date for registration is the 1st June 2020. After this date we won’t accept any further registrations.


To register in the training:

  • Send an email to geral@serintegral.pt including:
  • The name and date of the event you want to register
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Photograph
  • Intention letter informing your professional training path and professional experience, experience teaching groups, personal development in the area of mindfulness and motivation to start training in MBRP
  • Copies of the documents confirming your professional training and personal development in the area of mindfulness
  • Payment of 50 euros for registration which should be completed using the following bank details

                            IBAN: PT50 0035 0158 00018441030 71

                   BIC SWIFT: CGDIPTPL

                          BANK: CAIXA GERAL DE DEPÓSITOS (CGD)


Please send us the document confirming your payment. This value is not reembursable if you are not accepted in the training and it is not dedutable from the full tuition if you are accepted in the training.


Your application form will be received and we will produce an email confirming the reception of you registration. Confirmation of you acceptance in the training will be sent to you as soon as possible (around mid July maximum). At this stage all the information will be sent regarding payment of the full tuition of the training.



  • If your registration is canceled until the 1 April 2020 you will receive a full reimbursement of the retreat minus an administration fee of 50 euros. After this date we won’t make any reimbursements.
  • If the event is canceled due to an unexpected reason, Ser Integral: Centro Português de Mindfulness, will provide a reimbursement of 100% of the value paid for the training, but we won’t be responsible for any other costs (i.e., travelling and accommodation) associated with your participation in the training.



All participants that complete ALL sessions of the program will receive a certificate of attendance Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness & Faculty of Education and Psychology – Universidade Católica Portuguesa. Participants are requestes to be present to all sessions since the beginning of the training until the last day. Please plan you travels to arrive on time to be present for the Opening Session on the first day and leave only after the end of the Closing session. This is compulsory.




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