A lot of people view alcohol and drug treatment as hopeless, especially if they have an addiction. Most of the time, they aren’t ready to stop using or don’t think that sobriety is achievable. Even if they recognize that they have a substance use disorder, several factors keep them from changing. The purpose of motivational interviewing is to help them find a reason.

An Overview of Motivational Interviewing

Therapist and patient during motivational interviewing therapyAs a counseling method, motivational interviewing therapy resolves people’s hesitation to change their behaviors. It breaks through their insecurities to help them find motivation within themselves. This short-term process takes an empathetic, practical approach to the challenges that quitting drugs poses.

Psychologists Stephen Rollnick and William R. Miller developed this therapy with treating addiction in mind. It can help people address addictions to substances and pleasurable activities such as gambling, shopping, or sexual intercourse. However, experts have adopted it to manage other physical and mental health disorders too. Some examples include asthma, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Principles and Goals

During motivational interviewing therapy, therapists use specific principles to achieve goals. The first principle is to express empathy, which is a core value for this treatment method. Therapists learn of the patients’ barriers and struggles and then show their understanding. Doing so makes the patients more open during discussions because they don’t feel like the therapists criticize or judge them.

Developing discrepancy is the second principle, so therapists have their patients point out the gaps between their actions and goals. For instance, heroin use gets in the way of achieving career success and happiness. Rather than using confrontation, however, therapists ask questions so that the patients arrive at this conclusion naturally.

The third principle of motivational interviewing involves therapists rolling with patients’ resistance throughout the process. Without confrontation, they steer patients into accepting the need to change. They’ll work to understand the patients’ point of view while avoiding the desire to repair distorted ways of thinking. Instead, they offer alternative thoughts for patients to consider.

Supporting the belief in change is the fourth principle that therapists follow. Many patients with addiction have tried sobriety with little to no success. For that reason, they lose hope in a successful future. During motivational interviewing, therapists point out their strengths and accomplishments to encourage the internal want to change.

What to Expect During Sessions

Typical motivational interviewing therapy sessions consist of therapists asking open-ended questions. They require more than yes or no answers or choosing a number on a scale. The purpose is to engage patients to understand their beliefs, thoughts, and emotions better. The patients also help conduct the sessions because the therapists follow their lead.

Asserting or supporting patients’ decisions or behaviors at appropriate times is another part of the sessions. Therapists don’t affirm negative behaviors to boost patients’ confidence. Instead, they applaud positive behaviors to build a sense of belief in and power to change.

Therapists also use reflective listening to show that they understand the patients’ situations. This technique builds a connection and reduces hesitation in engaging in motivational interviewing. Therapists also use summaries to uncover common problems and themes. The goal is to move toward change by exposing patients’ discrepancies.

When the above elements work well, patients will talk about making changes in their lives. In fact, they lead this part of motivational interviewing therapy. The first stage involves recognizing the reasons why they need to change and that they can. In the second stage of change talk, they commit to making changes and take steps to implement them.

Get the Counseling Services You Need at Beaches Recovery

There’s more to overcoming addiction than gaining internal motivation to change. Recovery also requires that you address the cause of your problem and any existing co-occurring disorders. Because of that, Beaches Recovery offers a range of evidence-based counseling services, including:

Beaches Recovery also takes a whole-person approach to addiction treatment. We use holistic healing methods to treat your mind, body, and spirit. Some examples of our holistic services include mindfulness, bowling, boating, equine, and fitness therapies. We’ll get to know you so that we can create a suitable treatment plan including these and other services.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that change is impossible. Find out during motivational interviewing that you can achieve successful recovery. Call 866-274-9281 to learn more about how Beaches Recovery can help you change your life.