I am honored to have the opportunity to discover new ways of helping people heal and recover from the challenges in their lives. For the past several years, I have been busily engaged in developing a new therapy for people struggling with chronic pain and problems with prescription opioid painkillers through a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. I first developed this new therapeutic approach, which I call Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement, for an earlier study I conducted on alcoholism that was funded by a Francisco Varela Award from Mind and Life Institute. Mindfulness is an expansive and fundamental concept that has been pursued for millennia as a means of ameliorating suffering – look for more posts here soon about it. I am studying how this new treatment compares to a conventional support group. Support groups are a widely-used form of psychological support for people dealing with health and mental health issues that can be extremely helpful.
My approach to helping people is focused on promoting the basic goodness and inherent capacity for growth that lies within each person. I have a lot to say on this topic, but my latest thoughts can be summed up with an image:
In a way, this upward spiral of mindfulness, meaning, and positive emotion may be viewed as the converse of the downward spirals of addiction, stress, and pain that have become a modern day epidemic.