Meditation Therapy Definition

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, you can find meditation classes just about anywhere, from the local gym to sun-warmed city parks on Saturday mornings. But what is meditation therapy, as opposed to the practice of meditation?

Meditation is a mental exercise that helps us heighten our sense of awareness and focus our attention. Meditation therapy is a technique that combines the benefits of meditation with the benefits of a professionally-led therapy meeting in a safe and comfortable setting.

Types of Meditation Therapy

People who practice meditation or attend meditation therapy may have many different goals. And there are different types of meditation therapy to help meet those varying goals. Some of the most common types of meditation therapy include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Spiritual meditation
  • Movement meditation
  • Mantra meditation
  • Transcendental meditation

Two that we see depicted the most are mantra and movement meditation, whether or not we realize it at the time. Mantra meditation involves focusing on one specific word or phrase. Movement meditation involves walking or exercising to promote inner peace.

For those attending meditation therapy sessions as part of an addiction recovery program, mindfulness training is typically the most common method. Practicing mindfulness can help us regulate our emotions, decrease the severity of negative emotions, focus, and observe.

Examples of Meditation Therapy in Practice

Meditation is more flexible than it sounds. You do not have to chant, close your eyes, or change your clothes to meditate. Whether at home or in the comfort of an accredited recovery center, there are only three requirements for traditional meditation:

  • A quiet space with limited or no distractions
  • A comfortable position, whether lying down, sitting, walking, or otherwise
  • Something to focus on, like positive thoughts, a specific word or phrase, an object in the room, or the pattern of your breathing
  • An open mind; there should be no shame, blame, or judgment.

And mindfulness meditation is even simpler than many other methods. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on and increasing our awareness of what we are feeling and sensing at the moment. The goal is to recognize these things without judging or interpreting them.

This increased focus and awareness help us put space between ourselves and our reactions. And when we are driven to abuse drugs or alcohol out of feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety, or loneliness, this space gives us the time we need to choose a healthier reaction or coping mechanism.

Meditation Therapy

Some Evidence-Based Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has many surprising benefits. Research shows that meditation lowers stress and anxiety levels, reduces blood pressure, and improves insomnia. Additionally, it increases emotional calmness and physical relaxation and improves psychological balance.

Many medical professionals have also highlighted meditation as a natural and effective treatment method for chronic pain, fatigue, mood disturbances, and more. Through the combination of these effects, meditation can enhance our overall health and well-being.

Goals and Benefits of a Meditation Practice

Goals are inherently personal, especially when it comes to recovery goals. Your goal for meditation may be to lower your stress levels because stress triggers you to drink or use drugs. Or you may want to learn how to use meditation as a healthy coping mechanism for the symptoms of anxiety or depression that often make you feel unbalanced.

One of the best things about mediation is that it offers many benefits and helps us meet many goals. Because many of its benefits are mental or emotional, meditation therapy is particularly helpful for recovering addicts who also suffer from mental health disorders.

For example, someone with post-traumatic stress disorder or an anxiety disorder may find that meditation therapy helps them reduce related symptoms and better control their breathing. But meditation therapy has also helped many who are in strictly substance-based recovery, too.

Strengthening Recovery Through Meditation Therapy

There are several therapeutic benefits of meditation that are useful during recovery. Often, the easiest way to start is by following guided meditation sessions and attending cognitive-behavioral or CBT therapy sessions.

The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to change self-defeating ways of thinking about the world, the self, and the future. Naturally, this goes hand in hand with mindfulness training, as we can’t change our thought patterns if we do not first gain greater awareness of them.

Meditation Therapy at Inpatient Treatment Sessions

Mindfulness therapy or mindfulness-based CBT can help you change your mindset and change your life. Therapy, including this method and several others, is a significant part of our inpatient care programs.

Our inpatient programs also feature creative care methods. These may include yoga and art therapy, healthy meals, family counseling, and support group meetings in a comfortable and safe space.

With 24-hour access to care, support, and guidance, inpatient programs are high-level care settings. These are generally best for individuals with moderate to severe addictions, troubling withdrawal symptoms, a history of relapse, or a lack of support at home.

For recovering clients with different needs, we offer several other options.

Meditation Therapy

Other Rehab Program Options

Inpatient programs offer the highest level of care, but that does not mean that they are the best fit for everyone. Different programs are designed to meet different needs. For example, our partial hospitalization program is ideal for clients facing both addiction and mental illness.

This may mean alcoholism and anxiety or panic disorder, cocaine addiction, and depression, or another combination. Co-occurring disorders require a specific type of treatment and level of care to ensure that one does not remain and worsen the other over time.

Stepping down a level in time requirements but not in effectiveness, someone with a milder addiction, milder withdrawal symptoms, and no mental illness may be best suited for an intensive outpatient program. This is also ideal for those with family or full-time work obligations.

Outpatient programs allow you to maintain your sobriety at home while attending counseling sessions, support group meetings, and other treatments at our facility each week. This is the ideal balance of support and flexibility.

Most clients with moderate to severe addictions start with an inpatient program before graduating down the list and ending with an outpatient or aftercare program for continued support.

It does not need to happen all in one sitting, but most medical professionals recommend at least three months of recovery care. We can help you evaluate your addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and other needs to determine which path will best suit you.

Best Practices for Long-Term Recovery

One of the most important best practices for long-term recovery is regularly evaluating your needs. Our health, goals, and needs change over time. For treatment to be effective, treatment methods and settings must be assessed and modified to meet these changing needs.

This is one reason why we only offer personalized care plans rather than one-size-fits-all programs. Everyone is different. And everyone recovers differently, too. Choosing Pathfinders means choosing professionals who make your care personal.

Getting Started at a Pathfinders Recovery Center

Getting help for addiction can be a scary process. But we know from experience that untreated addictions often get worse over time. The best time to start treatment is now. You deserve the time and space to build a better life.

Call our 24-hour confidential line at 866-604-7830 to speak with one of our addiction counselors.


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  • (877) 224-0761
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