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July 24, 2022

How Is Motivational Interviewing Used In Treatment?

Deciding to participate in addiction treatment is an excellent step toward long-term sobriety, but the process can be incredibly challenging when individuals aren’t motivated to recover. Inspiring individuals and empowering them to take responsibility for their recovery is crucial for effective addiction treatment. A technique known as motivational interviewing works to accomplish that goal.

What Is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational interviewing is a counseling approach created to help individuals find their reasons to make positive behavioral changes. This approach can be particularly effective for people who have mixed feelings about changing their behavior.

Doctors William Miller and Stephen Rollnick initially developed the concept of motivational interviewing to treat alcohol addiction. Today, recovery experts and healthcare professionals use the method to encourage individuals grappling with various substance abuse challenges.

Instead of confronting individuals about their addiction, motivational interviewing aims to help individuals understand more about their substance use and why they need to get help. Although the conversations can be emotionally overwhelming, the goal is to encourage individuals to want to make a change, seek addiction treatment, recover, and maintain their sobriety.

Lack of motivation to quit using drugs and alcohol can be one of the most significant barriers to addiction recovery. Motivational interviewing helps individuals overcome ambivalence or fear of change.

Motivational interviewing is a simple process that involves:

  • Engagement, such as talking about issues, concerns, and hopes. The point of the engagement is to establish a trusting relationship between the individual and their counselor.
  • Focus. This often looks like narrowing the conversation to the patterns and habits individuals want to change.
  • Encouragement, such as eliciting individuals’ motivation for change by increasing the sense of the importance of change, their readiness for change, and their confidence that change can occur.
  • Planning that includes practical steps individuals can use to implement desired changes.

Benefits Of Motivational Interviewing

Even though there are several reasons recovery experts use motivational interviewing, some of the most common benefits include:

  • Reducing the risk of relapse.
  • Helping individuals become more open and receptive to treatment.
  • Build individuals’ self-confidence and trust in themselves.
  • Teaching individuals to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
  • Showing individuals that they have the power to change their lives for the better.

Common Motivational Interviewing Questions For Addiction

The primary focus of motivational interviewing is empowering individuals to take responsibility for their actions. The ultimate goal of this approach is to get individuals to talk about their feelings, ideas, plans, hopes, aspirations, and concerns. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is by asking questions.

Some of the most common questions asked in a motivational interview session include:

  • Tell me about your concerns related to your substance use.
  • What’s positive about these substances for you? What are some of your worries about using drugs and alcohol?
  • Has your substance use changed over time? If so, how?
  • What do you like most about the substances you use?
  • What things have you noticed that concern you that could be, or might become a problem?
  • Have other people talked to you about your substance use? What have they said?
  • What do you think other people are concerned about regarding your substance use?
  • What could be a likely consequence of continuing to use drugs and alcohol?
  • Why are you here today?
  • What do you think about going to rehab?
  • What worries you about using substances?
  • What makes you think you have a substance use problem?
  • What do you think you need to change? What would you like to change?
  • How do you plan to change?

Types of Interview Techniques Used In Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Helping individuals find and discover their own reasons for quitting drugs and alcohol can be a time-consuming and challenging process. That’s why many therapists use various techniques to elicit responses that help individuals think about their ability to change.

Some of these techniques include:

  • Asking open-ended questions.
  • Listening reflectively.
  • Affirming individuals’ thoughts and feelings.
  • Encouraging self-motivating statements.

How Is Motivational Interviewing Used In Addiction Treatment?

Most recovery experts use motivational interviewing to help encourage individuals to make positive lifestyle changes. Even though this process can work differently for everyone, motivational interviewing typically accomplishes this goal by:

  • Encouraging counselors to convey empathy. Many people recovering from addiction are hesitant to take part in therapy for fear of being judged. But motivational interviewing isn’t about judgment. Instead, counselors display empathy and focus on understanding individuals’ situations from their point of view. This safe space helps individuals feel comfortable being themselves.
  • Helping individuals see discrepancies in their lives. Research shows that most individuals become motivated to change once they see the mismatch between their reality and desires. As counselors help individuals see the discrepancies in their lives, most people become motivated to undergo treatment and change their lives for the better.
  • Encouraging individuals to persevere when change doesn’t happen as expected. Even after individuals are motivated to change for the better, they have to realize that life doesn’t change because they hope it will. Some circumstances take time, and individuals can change their minds. As a result, motivational interviewing teaches individuals to reframe certain situations and thoughts. Offering different perspectives on certain circumstances can help prevent individuals from quitting the recovery process when situations don’t go their way. Instead, they can reframe the situation and continue to grow despite resistance.
  • Supporting self-efficacy, empowerment, and responsibility. Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in their ability to perform specific tasks. Therapists encourage self-efficacy by guiding and encouraging individuals to make positive changes.

Empowering Individuals To Take Charge Of Their Recovery

Even though there are clear advantages associated with quitting drugs and alcohol, many people struggle to decide whether they really want to quit using substances. Motivational interviewing can help individuals reach that decision without feeling like they were forced to give up something they love. Instead, this technique can help individuals view addiction recovery as a chance to pursue a life change that they desired and chose, increasing their risk of long-term sobriety.

Here at Meta, our primary goal is to empower individuals to take charge of their recovery. If you or someone you love continues to struggle with addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today.