Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

In recent years evidence-based treatments have shown to be particularly effective in treating addiction patients above and beyond medically assisted treatments. Here at California Prime we use several therapy modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and other psychiatric therapies in various combinations that are tailored to each individual client. Our comprehensive treatment plans almost always include a combination of various types of therapies and treatments so that our clients can walk away with coping skills when they are on their own.

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) has recently been shown to be as effective as, if not more, than other evidence-based treatments because it is built upon CBT and goes further than where they stop, especially for addiction patients.

What is Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) is a type of psychotherapy which includes cognitive behavior therapy techniques, mindfulness practice, and other stress reduction practices with the aim to treat mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and others.

MBCT has been developed by integrating Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) with Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy to create a therapy that’s more effective than each individual therapy.

Techniques used in MBCT

There are several techniques and various combinations of techniques that can be used in MBCT. Here are a few that we have found effective:

Rather than letting our stressful thoughts taking over, this practice brings our attention back to what is happening in our immediate surroundings
This is a practice of bringing attention to the different areas of our body, from head to toe, with an aim to divert stressful thoughts and replace them with body awareness
Guided or self-directed form of silent sitting while observing inner thoughts, sensations and emotions without being self-critical or judgmental
Yoga and other mindful practices such as Tai Chi allow us to stretch our bodies in certain postures while bringing awareness to our inner body and mind
Focusing on our breath has been found to be a powerful practice for managing stressful thoughts. In addition, there are several deep breathing exercises that can enhance inner wellbeing.
In addition to mindfulness meditation, visualization techniques are sometimes used to provide future goals to envision so we can move toward a life we want to create


How is MBCT used in Addiction Treatment

Because mindfulness practices focus on bringing our awareness to our inner mental space, these techniques can help addiction patients become aware of their cravings, so that they can pay attention to the thoughts, triggers, emotions and behaviors behind their cravings. Where MBCT goes further is by helping addiction patients to reframe their thought patterns and replace using drugs and alcohol with healthier coping strategies.

MBCT techniques allow addiction patients to use mindfulness practices and cognitive methods to disrupt the patterns of how stress triggers, depressive thoughts, mood swings and other unhealthy behaviors act on their body and mind. MBCT also provides tools to not only become aware of, and disrupt these negative patterns, but also techniques to overcome these behaviors so that they will know how to cope when cravings occur.

Due to the powerful combination of mindfulness practices with cognitive therapy, we have found that relapse rate can decrease in our addiction patients.

What does Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy treat?

MBCT has been shown to be effective in treating dual diagnosis cases including addiction and other mental health disorders. Some of its treatment areas include:

Because of the variety of benefits offered by MBCT, it has been a powerful treatment aid at California Prime. If you’d like to learn more about our recovery process, please reach out: 866-415-6313

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.