Mindfulness-based therapy has exploded in popularity in recent years, as psychologists have recognized that meditation and mindfulness can be used as not only healthy coping skills, but also as a clinical therapeutic approach.
Meditation in Treatment
As meditation has become more recognized, many programs have added this practice to their treatment plans. It is often offered as an “add-on”, so that programs can add it to the list of therapies that they can advertise they offer. The problem with this, is that those programs do not actually offer meditation in a meaningful way, and the mindfulness training can be limited. It is crucial to find trained professionals to get the best teaching of meditation.
We know that meditation is very helpful for a variety of psychological problems such as anxiety and disorders like PTSD. It also helps teenagers and young adults become aware of their inner thinking and of the downhill path that their thoughts can take. This sequence of thoughts and behaviors can lead them back into maladaptive behaviors.
How Does Meditation Help?
For many people struggling with substance use, choosing to use the substance again is not an isolated occurrence. For example, if someone is struggling with alcohol use, even the act of being offered alcohol or seeing others drink (including online) can send them on a downhill path, which leads them to believe that they can successfully use alcohol again and “get away with it”. This can happen more often with adolescents and young adults because they haven’t had as much time as adults to experience the negative consequences of their substance use. Meditation can be incredibly helpful for them to see how their thoughts lead to cravings and behavior.
Meditation is not easy at first. But here is an interesting practice that everyone can do that can show you the effectiveness of having your mind, even briefly, focused. This practice is called three breath meditation. For this meditation, you simply take three breaths in and out—but with awareness. You fill up your belly (not just your chest) on the inhale and you passively breathe out on the exhale. You do this for just three breaths, paying attention to your experience inside your body. You can notice any thoughts that arise but then let them go.
After you’ve done that, you then see how it affects you. How is your level of anxiety? Your degree of relaxation? You can start with the three breath meditation, and do it when you have a few moments throughout the day. Then, when that comes easily, gradually increase the length of time that you’re able to stay focused on what your inner experience is while letting go of distracting thoughts. As you do this over time, you develop the ability to see what your subconscious mind and your conscious thinking are offering to you in the way of solutions, and whether those really fit in with your overall life plans.
What Makes Red Mountain Unique?
Unlike with many other programs, at Red Mountain meditation is not an “add on”. Meditation is the core foundation of the program, along with really well thought out psychotherapy and behavioral approaches. They all fit together into a seamless package.
The core of the Red Mountain approach starts with meditation and becoming mindful of one’s behavior in everyday life. Our clients practice that mindfulness. As students do that, they begin to develop a sense of inner safety that comes out of that sense of knowing what they are thinking and whether those thoughts make sense or not. Students begin to become aware of their long term goals, what they really want to do with their life, and what really matters to them.
How Red Mountain Colorado Can Help
Red Mountain Colorado uses evidence-based and holistic therapies to help your teen break negative thoughts and behaviors and develop greater self-awareness, self-confidence and positive decision-making. By providing a sense of safety, students begin to develop more self confidence and are able to begin to make plans and go forward with their life. Out of that sense of safety and confidence, they can begin to put themselves in other’s shoes. They begin to have compassion, which starts with self-love, and gradually broadens and includes others. That’s the kind of inner journey that takes place at Red Mountain. For more information please call (970) 315-9533.
Oliver Cooperman, MD is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. He has worked with adolescents and young adults in treatment for decades. He has functioned as Medical Director for several facilities and taught as clinical professor at several medical schools and residency programs across the US as well. A regular contributor to medical publications, he has hosted and performed as a keynote speaker at many conferences and workshops for medical professionals. Dr. Cooperman contributes a strong background in psychotherapy and a sensitivity to the individual needs of students at Red Mountain Colorado.