2019 Bennett Lecture to focus on mindfulness-based Interventions for addiction

On Oct. 15, at 4 p.m., Katie Witkiewitz, psychology professor at the University of New Mexico, will present the 2019 Bennett Lecture in Prevention Science, "Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Addiction: Making a Better Band-Aid," in 110 Henderson Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Witkiewitz, a nationally recognized expert in treating addiction, will cover the addiction relapse process, how addiction is difficult to treat because of the relapse cycle, and how mindfulness skills may be used to increase awareness of triggers and automatic reactions, to reduce the risk of addictive behavior relapse. She will present findings from her research regarding mindfulness-based relapse prevention and interventions to increase dissemination and implementation in communities.

The Bennett Lecture is an annual fall event hosted by the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center (PRC) and is accompanied by a week of activities with prominent scholars in the field. The lectureship was created through an endowment established in 1999 by Edna Bennett Pierce, a 1953 Penn State graduate in home economics.

“As we celebrate the PRC’s 20th anniversary this week, we are grateful for the many important contributions that Edna Bennett Pierce has made to the PRC and the field of prevention science,” said Stephanie Lanza, PRC director and interim director of the Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse. “Integrating mindfulness into programs for preventing or treating substance misuse can be of great benefit to so many people suffering from addiction.”

Witkiewitz will also give a talk at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 16 on “Alcohol Harm Reduction is Health Promotion: A 15-year Journey Examining Patterns and Predictors of Alcohol Treatment Outcomes,” in the Memorial Lounge of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, as part of the Child Study Center speaker series.

A licensed clinical psychologist, Witkiewitz has worked extensively on the development of a theoretical model of biopsychosocial influences on substance use relapse. Recently, she has been working to adapt mindfulness-based interventions for real-world settings, including adaptations to the number of sessions and how the treatment is delivered. To date, Witkiewitz has authored five books and more than 190 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and has given over 75 presentations and invited talks. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Institute on Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, totaling more than $22 million in research funding since 2004.