Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is an intervention and counseling approach designed to evoke internally motivated change in patients. Motivational enhancement therapy is often combined with other counseling for patients struggling with addiction or substance use disorders, such as the 12-step treatment method. Motivational enhancement therapy works by ensuring individuals who are addicted to being taught how to change via their thoughts and behavior patterns.
Motivational enhancement treatment is often divided into four specifically targeted treatment sessions, each bespoke to the individual’s specific needs. More often than not with patients, the earlier session will heavily focus on evaluating information from an initial assessment that would have taken place before any of the sessions. This ensures beneficial goals are set for the patient and their future. The last sessions will often provide the patients with a specific perspective and positive reinforcement to give them the best possibility of staying sober.
Techniques of Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
Motivational enhancement therapy is a time-limited type of therapy that consists of 4 sessions but, with certain patients, can be seen to last as long as six sessions. The first session consists of an assessment, with the next two to fours session utilizing motivational enhancement therapy strategies to ensure the patients gain a broader perspective of awareness, build their motivation and develop a solid bespoke plan to change.
Motivational interviewing is a technique used in counseling to help patients resolve ambivalence and improve motivation to change for the long term. Motivational interviewing heavily focuses on helping patients become more confident in themselves, motivated in life, and willing and ready to begin changing for the better. The therapists involved will help their patients explore coping strategies and encourage their commitment to long-term change.
Motivational interviewing therapy heavily focuses on five vital motivational principles:
Motivational enhancement therapy therapists will not at any point argue with the individual about their substance abuse, mental mindset, or behavior, no matter how much they are pushed to do so. Arguments often trigger defensive behavioral traits closely followed by resistance to change, hindering the entire therapy session. The therapist will utilize soft and gentle speaking and optimistically to give the patients a new perspective so they become more aware of their mindset a behavior; therefore, the motivation to change comes from within them rather than someone else attempting to force them.
Helping patients learn to develop and express empathy for themselves, and others is a vital step in MET treatment. The ultimate goal is to help the patient understand how their specific behavior affects those around them. Helping the patient gain a more comprehensive understanding of this will help the patients themselves feel more motivated to change.
Motivational enhancement therapy thoroughly recognizes that resistance is a prevalent trait within all of us. The therapist will often look for ways to diffuse the struggle for the patient. The ultimate goal is to minimize resistance from the patient and allow the patients to stay in treatment, and effectively work towards building intrinsic motivation to change.
Acknowledge the discrepancy
Another aspect of motivational enhancement therapy is understanding and recognizing discrepancies between persons’ desired place to be and where they are present. Understanding and acknowledging the difference between reality and desire can be patients’ inspiration to bridge the gap and make the desire a reality.
For patients to make a change, they need to fully believe that they are capable of said change and achieving their goals. Motivational enhancement therapy aids patients in improving their self-efficacy for they to recognize that they have strengths and what they are to gain a greater understanding of their capabilities in life.
MET can help with
Motivational enhancement therapy was designed and developed to help any individual who is struggling with addiction; however, there has been a variety of research that has additionally suggested that motivational enhancement therapy can be beneficial for a variety of other conditions; these can be seen to include but are not limited to:
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Alcohol use disorder
- Compulsive gambling
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Benefits of MET
The National Insitute on Drug Abuse has stated that motivational enhancement therapy has a range of benefits when it comes to aiding patients when attempting to overcome their hesitance regarding entering treatments for their substance abuse or addiction. Motivational enhancement therapy has been developed to aid patients in quickly developing intrinsic motivation toward making their recovery a positive and successful journey.
Below we have listed a variety of vital benefits in regards to this approach which can be seen to include but are not limited to:
- Reducing any resistance or hesitation from the patients. A vital aspect of motivational enhancement therapy is a persuasion tactic that can often take the form of labeling, confrontation, and coercion, which are somewhat counterproductive when joining the road to recovery from addiction or substance abuse. Furthermore, these emotions or cognitive behaviors can lead to greater resistance to change for the better.
- More often than not, MET has a quick turnaround rate due to a maximum of 4 to six sessions.
- Significant emphasis on choice. Therapists will never act as authoritarian figures towards their patients; instead, they take a collaborative approach that is viewed more as a partnership. The therapists part of motivational enhancement therapy treatment will work with their patients to build awareness and gain greater perspective to allow them to make choices on their own.
A final thought
Motivational enhancement therapy can have tremendous benefits and has been effective for many patients; however, it does not necessarily mean it will work for everyone. Recovery from substance abuse and addiction is a challenging journey; seeing a treatment work for one person does not necessarily mean it will work as effectively for another.
It is vital to remember that motivational enhancement therapy is rarely utilized as a stand-alone treatment for addiction or substance abuse. It will become most beneficial when utilized alongside additional treatment, such as behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a 12-step treatment program.
If you do decide to go forward with motivational enhancement therapy and it does not end up being as beneficial as you thought it might be, please do not get disparaged. Speak with your doctor or therapist about why you believe this treatment may not have been as effective, and be as open as you can. Communication from yourself with your therapist or medical professional is the best way to ensure you beat your addiction and join the road to recovery.