What is Motivational Interviewing
MI is a therapeutic approach that works well to treat individuals with substance abuse conditions. It was established as a form of treatment in the early 1980s as a way to increase motivation for individuals who have little desire to make changes that will lead to behavioral changes.
Motivational Interviewing is built on the work of Carl Rogers’ work in the early 1960s. Rogers believed that therapy should be about validating the experiences of clients and the therapist’s job is to listen, not to interview. Rogers’ client-centered approach changed how therapists interact with clients, allowing patients to feel more heard and part of the therapy process.
This form of therapy for addiction is also one of the few evidence-based therapies available. According to the Center for Evidence-Based Practices, MI helps individuals address feelings of uncertainty about treatment. MI is often utilized as the first step to help individuals struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction. Once you enter treatment, other therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are then integrated as part of the process.
According to the book Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Abuse Treatment, MI helps clients understand why addiction therapy is important and how it will help them. For example, the therapist may ask how addiction is impacting your life. You might be asked about how easy it is for you to maintain employment or the quality of your relationships with family or friends. You might be asked about your romantic relationships or about your children. You might be asked you how your life would improve if you could change the behaviors related to drug or alcohol use.
In essence, MI helps you look at your perspective on how addictive behaviors impact your life. By understanding this, you might gain insight into the benefits of treatment and how it will improve your life in both large and small ways.
Examples of why this approach is effective include:
- Helping you understand why you resist treatment.
- Learning how the treatment will improve your life.
- Identifying the behaviors you want to change.
- Providing you the space to tell your own story.
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What to Expect with our MI Program
Motivational Interviewing is about helping you understand why you are conflicted about entering a program and if doing so will help improve your life. Therapists ask questions without judgment. Your counselor will encourage you to tell your own story about why you use and what prompts you to use. They may ask you about your current living situation or about your family. The goal of questioning is to understand your circumstances from your perspective.
Your counselor will likely encourage you to tell your story – maybe for the first time – about why you use and what the consequences are for you. The goal is to provide you with a safe and free space to explore how you feel about those consequences and how your life could change if you enter treatment.
The therapist treats you with respect throughout the process. They ask for your permission to talk about topics, so if you are not comfortable with a line of questioning, you can simply tell them that you want to talk about something else. In fact, you can direct the questioning toward something else you would like to explore or discuss. With MI, the counselor sincerely listens to you.
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When you acknowledge that you need help and a drug treatment plan, then you can commit to entering a drug treatment program. Motivational Interviewing stresses your own internal strengths and empowers you to make your own decision about whether or not you are ready and willing to commit to addiction treatment.
At AmHealth Behavioral, we are committed to helping you understand how addiction therapy will help you with your addiction issues. When you are committed to treatment, we are committed to working with you to find the best treatment approach for your needs. If you are not sure whether treatment is for you, please give us a call and let us help you find answers.