OUR APPROACH: Mindfulness-Based Recovery

Samadhi is a recovery center for those suffering from substance use and related disorders and addictions. Our community based Outreach center opened in April 2019. The core program is based in alternative treatment modalities: Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP), Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery (MBAR), Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Somatic Experiencing. This program is based on “meeting the patients where they are at”. These treatment modalities are evidence-based and have shown extremely promising results in recent studies (Bissel Van der Kolk- 2006). To date, Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention has demonstrated efficacy as a treatment for substance use disorders, in comparison to a treatment-as-usual control group in an outpatient treatment setting (Bowen et al., 2009). The practices and exercises throughout MBRP and MBAR are designed to raise awareness and increase intentional responding by shifting out of “autopilot” and bringing attention to physical, emotional, and cognitive experiences, both in triggering situations and in typical daily routine activities. Several practices specifically target tolerance of negative physical, emotional, and cognitive states, thereby decreasing the need to alleviate discomfort by engaging in impulsive behavior.

Addiction is automatic and compulsive. Because of this, it precludes states of mind that are open, peaceful and free. When an individual cultivates mindfulness they become increasingly aware of their addictive behavior and it ceases to be automatic. Many contemporary models of recovery are disease-based and attempt to train individuals to avoid certain states of mind and behaviors. As opposed to “thought suppression” Mindfulness based therapies work rather with “thought acceptance”. In addition to decreasing avoidance of unwanted thoughts, it is hypothesized that mindfulness-based treatments decrease reactivity toward triggers, thereby interrupting the “addictive loop.” Brewer et al. (2009) One study found that participants in a 9-week mindfulness training (MT) group for alcohol and/or cocaine dependence displayed a significantly decreased psychological and physiological response toward personalized and provoked stressful situations (using a stress-reactivity paradigm) when compared with participants in the 12-week cognitive-behavioral therapy group. (Marlatt & Gordon, 1985).

Samadhi’s approach is to help individuals develop their own healing capacities through treatments that are strength-based and encourage them to move towards paths that enliven, empower and enrich. We emphasize the importance of building on health and strength rather than avoiding, disease or pathology. Our approach is about facing what hurts and looking for answers within ourselves. The content and practices are presented in a non-judgmental, compassionate manner, encouraging clients to approach their observations and experiences with kindness rather than harshness or judgment, with the intention of reducing the shame and self-blaming that often precipitates further self-defeating behavior.

OUR VISION: Trauma-sensitive mindfulness & meditation based program

For the past two years, I have been working on a documentary film called DISCONNECTED. In this film, I explore the largest addiction crisis this country has ever seen and the ways in which we can heal our addicted society. There is a Paradigm Shift underway in the addiction treatment community which we are only starting to see in America. The knowledge and wisdom I have experienced while interviewing many of the pioneers in this movement has informed the creation of the Samadhi center and treatment program. Many of the people that have inspired me to create this center will be on the advisory board as well as visiting guest speakers in many cases giving workshops and lectures. The center has been endorsed by Dr. Andrew Tatarsky PHD (author of “Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, A new treatment for drug and alcohol problems”) as well as many other specialists in the field. Samadhi is not just a center but a movement in our community.

I would create outreach and aftercare programs to work with families and individuals suffering with substance use disorder in Ulster, Sullivan, Greene and Columbia County where there are very few resources. These outreach programs would be centered around the C.R.A.F.T. program created by Dr. Robert J. Meyers. The Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT) is a scientifically based intervention designed to help concerned significant others (CSO’s) to engage treatment-refusing substance abusers into treatment. The CRAFT program steers clear of any confrontation or stigmatization. The program has a success rate of nearly 70% based on scientific research.

There are estimated to be over 480,000 people in New York State that go untreated from addiction. These outreach centers would work as non-profits to educate, advise and heal many of our upstate communities and their families.

I am currently conducting a Trauma-sensitive mindfulness and meditation based program that I have started at two traditional drug treatment centers. The patients are not only making significant progress in their recoveries but also understanding that the process will change the way they lead and view their lives. The patients are asking for more sessions to be available on the schedule. I believe that to truly inspire people to find their own recovery an environment of compassion, respect and responsibility needs to be present.

TREATING TRAUMA: The Fundamental Problem

Trauma is at the core of addiction according to Dr. Gabor Maté. "Addiction is only a symptom, it's not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is trauma," This hypothesis is at the core of our program. Samadhi will employ some of the best Trauma specialists in New York State to address this underlying trauma. Trauma and trauma healing is a fundamentally subjective experience; there are so many variables at play that determine what kind of care a person may need to process their experience after an experience or series of experiences, first of which is their existing ability to cope. At Samadhi we will avoid the one-size-fits all mentality in treating wounded clients. That’s not the reality of how wounds heal. Our clinical staff will have training in specialized modalities for treating trauma like EMDR therapy, trauma-focused CBT, brain-spotting, Somatic Experiencing ®, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy ®, or hypnotherapy. Additionally, adjunctive care providers like body workers, energy workers, yoga therapists/trauma-informed yoga teachers, martial arts instructors, and a variety of other healing arts that help a person more deeply sense into and work with embodiment can be tremendously valuable. In an ideal context, collaboration can exist amongst the providers to create the most integrated experience possible for healing.

Along with MBAR, MBRP, DBT and Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, SAMADHI will offer a wide range of Holistic services to clients. This begins with a nutritional plan and advisor. Luis Mojica CHHC is a certified holistic healer, nutritionist and herbalist. Luis believes that mental and emotional health is directly related to our diets and lifestyle. Living as an active addict we have generally inflicted considerable harm to our livers and the entire Limbic system. Holistic Life Navigation is a unique and deeply effective form of holistic therapy that teaches you how to listen to yourself - your intuition, your body, and your needs. It's an all-encompassing form of healing that integrates the body with the mind. When your physical body is healthy and well, your mental clarity, confidence, and mood are much easier to transform. Our center will also offer specific acupuncture techniques proven to significantly reduce cravings in those suffering from addiction. We would have a special focus on a detox acupuncture known as Nada Protocol . We are working with Ben Fleisher, Lac, CZB (Acupuncturist and Zero Balancer) and owner of Woodstock Healing Arts and have set up an alliance and working collaboration. We have also set up a working alliance with Maverick Family Health and many therapist in private practice. Other treatments available would include EMDR, Focalizing (a somatic addiction recovery therapy) and Somatic Experiencing. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. Somatic experiencing offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. This being ‘Stuck” in fight or flight mode is a common condition within what is known as P.A.W.S (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). Until now there has not been a successful treatment for PAWS. While these methods have been in use for some time, they are very new in the treatment of addiction. 

At SAMADHI mindfulness is incorporated into all activities that clients participate in. We will start each day with 1 or 2 periods of seated meditation. . Mindfulness can be a wonderful community building practice as well. We would continue to teach mindfulness techniques while clients are learning how to cook, how to garden, do carpentry,filmmaking, sweep the stairs etc. Clients will be given responsibilities but learn the joy of working and creating at the same time. As time passes, clients will have a choice of learning a new skill, art or trade that they can take with them.

Another aspect of this project is the research component. In the future we will have a resident research psychologist on staff to conduct studies of this treatment modality and in turn share this information with similar programs around the world. In this way we can all learn from each other in order to heal as many people suffering from these conditions as possible.