Mindful Awareness and Recovery from Compulsive Habits (M.A.R.C.H.)

The teacher Robin explaining what MARCH covers

MARCH Course Background

Research suggests that negative habits, such as compulsive shopping; internet use, video gaming, gambling etc., as well substance abuse, such as smoking and alcohol, are a growing global health issue, and it seems that Covid-19 has only aggravated this problem.

This research-based Mindfulness Intervention provides eight 90-minute sessions that have been specifically developed for people who want to learn new and more positive behaviors by becoming aware of, and responding to, the compulsive thinking and habits that are taking a toll on the quality of their lives.

During this 8-week program, you will cover the following:

  • Getting Out of Your Head
    Learning quick and easy ways to reconnect to the body and the breath as a safe haven when your mind takes over and is spinning out of control, a state that can often lead to stress and be a driving factor to acting out with negative compulsive behaviors or substances.
  • Ways Through Anxiety
    Increase your understanding of what causes anxiety and stress, which can often be the triggers for negative compulsive habits and gain a toolbox of quick and easy to use exercises that can help you deal with these.
  • Triggers and Feeling Tones
    Learn how to slow down and understand the processes that trigger our negative habitual behaviors and develop an internal barometer that allows us to avoid getting carried away on a whirlwind of body sensations, emotions and thoughts – instead we learn to find a place of calm in the midst of this storm, a place from which we can make wiser choices.
  • Thoughts Are Not Facts
    Gather an understanding of how the thinking we have about our relationship to our compulsive habits can reinforce our dependency on them and practice ways of seeing how the thoughts we have aren’t necessarily correct.
  • You Can’t Stop the Waves… but You Can Learn to Surf
    Learn how to respond to cravings and urges in a different way; not by suppressing them or compulsively acting out in habitual negative ways, but instead learning how to refrain from doing this and discovering how to sit with these sensations with a sense of willingness, curiosity, and openness.
  • Mindful Communication
    Understand the importance of interpersonal conflict (arguments and disagreements) as one of the main triggers leading to Negative compulsive habits and learn Mindful Communication skills that will help you listen to and be heard by others.
  • Picking Yourself Up – Not Putting Yourself Down
    Become aware of any tendencies to put yourself down and how this creates negative feedback loops that increase the risk of acting out with negative habitual behaviors or substances to escape the critical voice – and how to practice different ways of being kind to yourself that can help cultivate an attitude of self-care
  • Allowing and Letting Be
    Understanding how you use compulsive habits as a way to avoid difficult situations and emotions and how this can lead into getting caught up in a self-reinforcing loop of unhelpful behavior – and then learning different practices that make it possible to transform and release these difficult emotions.

What this course offers

  • Short sessions ( 2 hours) and home practices (15-20 minutes max) making it easy to remain engaged and to fit both the course sessions and home practices into your daily life.
  • The course will be primarily delivered by a certified mindfulness trainer with an extended experience of recovery from Compulsive Habits.
  • The course will be supported by a psychotherapist specialized in working with relational trauma and addiction.
  • Participants will be supported in their home practice by the option to join daily live online meditation sessions guided by the course teacher.


  • A free introductory session.
  • 8 weekly group sessions of 90 minutes.
  • Digital handouts with each session explaining content.
  • Lots of practical exercises to build mindfulness into your daily schedule.
  • Audio downloads to support your practice.
  • Daily live guided Mindfulness practice.


  • The course is held in English.
  • The sessions will take place live or online via Zoom.
  • Small group (maximum 12 people).
  • This Mindfulness program is being evaluated as part of research carried out by Exeter University. Participants will be invited to take part in the study on a voluntary basis.


 Robin Creswell MA, MSc

Course Mindfulness Teacher

Robin Creswell has 13 years of a personal mindfulness practice. Whilst initially Robins professional background was in broadcast journalism, with a career spanning more than 20 years, after 8 years of a personal Mindfulness practice Robin’s desire to make the teachings of mindfulness available to a broader public led her to return to university to study at one of the top Mindfulness teacher-training programs in Europe, the MSc in psychological Therapies, Practice and Research at Exeter University.

Robin has been teaching as an accredited Post Graduate Mindfulness instructor for the last 3 years and is still attached to Exeter University as a researcher in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapies and approaches. She has been trained to deliver Mindfulness Based Interventions to the highest standard, in compliance with the UK network of Mindfulness teacher trainer guidelines. She also has 10 years experience in recovery from negative compulsive habits. She is insured as a Mindfulness teacher in Belgium and practices with the support of a Senior Supervisor from The British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA) who abides by the UK Good Practice Guidelines for Supervisors.

 Kathleen Kelly, PhD, MSc, CADC

Course Support Psychotherapist

Kathleen Kelly holds an MSc in Addiction Psychology and Counselling from a London university, a PhD in Pharmacology from the Medical College of Virginia and trained at The Meadows in Arizona and The Priory in London. Kathleen is qualified in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (Oxford Mindfulness Centre) and in EMDRIA-approved EMDR, amongst other therapeutic modalities. Kathleen is a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor in the UK, Europe and USA (IC&RC). She abides by the code of ethics of the BACP and IC&RC, is registered and insured in Belgium and practices with supervision from a senior UKCP registered therapist and an EMDRIA-certified Clinical Counsellor.

Research References

Mindful Awareness and Recovery from Compulsive Habits (MARCH) is closely based on the Mindfulness in Early Addiction Recovery (MEAR; Nicholson, J. 2020) program, which in turn has been founded on evidence-based programs such as: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT; Segal, Z.V., Williams, M. & Teasdale, J. 2018) Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR; Santorelli et al., 2018) and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP; Bowen, S., Chawla, N., Marlatt, 2010),

It is also informed by Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness Theory (Treleaven, D.A., Britton, W. 2018) and contains elements of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery (MBAR; Mason-John, V. n.d.) Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE),Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC).