Mindful Monkey.

Upcoming Training Events


Here is a heads up on what’s coming up

Helping Clients Use Basic Anger Management Techniques

1 day course on 20.11.13 in Nottingham

Understanding and Working With Personality Disorder

1 day course on 29.11.13 in Nottingham

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Introduction
1 day course on 3.12.13 in Nottingham

Essential Motivational Interviewing Skills
2 day course on 31.3.14 and 1.4.14 in Nottingham

For further details go to the ‘Events’ page or click on the links above. We look forward to seeing you at some point.

What is ‘Addiction’?

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We often hear the word ‘Addiction’ used in the following way: “This person is using drugs because he is addicted”. The diagnostic label is then imagined to explain things. Let’s have another look at this.

Addiction is usually defined along the lines of: “When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance”

This seems to be saying is that – someone is doing something that is bad for them and they cannot control it.

So the statement we started with becomes – this person is using drugs because he cannot control it. Hmm and why can they not control it? – Because they are addicted. This seems to go round in circles without telling us anything; it is what we might call a tautology.

So the first thing we need to do is to remind ourselves that the word addiction is not an explanation but a label.  It is a label we use to denote someone doing something ‘non optimum’ while being unable to stop or control the behaviour. Note that this is not telling us why they are like this, we still need to find out.

The other thing that people do is to treat the word addiction as a thing, when it is more like a process. You cannot pick it up and put it in a wheel barrow can you? In fact it is a set of processes that interact in complex ways. And these processes contribute to the experience of not being able to control the behaviour.

Then we begin to realise that it is not ‘all or nothing’; it is a matter of degree. The amount of control seems to be on a continuum. One can be fully in control on the one hand of the spectrum and not at all in control at the other end. It seems to me that most of us with most of our behaviours are somewhere between these two ends.

So now we can start to ask some useful questions:

  • To what degree is the behaviour harmful?
  • To what degree are we able to control it?
  • Can we increase the degree to which we control this behaviour?
  • In what ways could we do this?

This helps us to look at the multiple processes that contribute to addiction and we find ourselves in a better position to do something about the problem. This discussion will continue in future posts on this topic.

John Davis has some interesting things to say on the topic in his book ‘ The Myth of Addiction’ – here he is talking about his ideas

(This article originally appeared here a couple of years ago and is reproduced here with a few edits)

Mental health treatment is stretching services to the limit report warns

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Mindful Monkey is here to contribute to a discussion of how we can find a way to be well in the world that we find ourselves in. So this article in the Guardian really brings things into sharp focus. It says:

Mental health services are “straining at the seams” to cope with the growing number of people with mental illnesses, according to a report published on Monday. As well as the immense distress caused to the millions of people with mental ill-health and their families, mental disorders cost the economy more than £100bn a year, according to calculations by the Mental Health Foundation. And unless the prevalence of mental illness falls, 2 million more adults and 100,000 more children will need treatment in 2030 compared with the figures for this year.

More effort needs to be put into preventing mental illness in the first place, said Bhugra, who is also the president-elect of the World Psychiatric Association and co-chair of the panel that drew up the report.

“Lacking a ‘cure’ for mental illness, a reduction in the number of people across the UK developing mental disorders appears to us to be the only way that mental health services will adequately cope with demand in 20-30 years’ time,” he said.

via Mental health treatment is stretching services to the limit, report warns | Society | The Guardian.

This last point is very important, it is talking about prevention. And we know that there is rapidly accumulating evidence that regular Mindfulness practice improves mental health. Mindfulness classes and resources are becoming increasingly popular. Watch this space for our Mindfulness Classes; in the meantime feel free to go to our ‘Downloads’ page and get started.

AA Founder had interesting ideas on LSD

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Many people have heard of Bill Wilson. In 1935 he was the co founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This was a sobriety, abstinence based organisation in Ohio, USA. What people may not realise is that a new book due to be published asserts that Wilson experimented with LSD in order to tackle his own battle with depression. He came to believe; about 20 years after the setting up of this movement that LSD could help people with alcohol problems to achieve a sort of “Spiritual Breakthrough or Awakening” and promote recovery. This is a controversial point of view and he realised this; often speaking about this in a guarded manner. He thought that LSD was a non-addictive substance that alters thought processes in a way that could be helpful.

The Foundation Degree in Drug & Alcohol Counselling and Treatment aims to provide an in depth understanding of the issues in addiction and responses to this.

Two Longer Mindfulness Practices

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Here are another couple of guided mindfulness recordings that were made during the weekly sessions in Leicester during August. These CD3 recordings are from the last part of the 10 week course and so should be used once you have been practicing with CD1 and CD2 for a while.

They were recorded with a group and are not studio quality, we practice in the real world so we can allow the background sounds as part of what is here. Feel free to download and use them. I hope you find them helpful in your practice.



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