Motivational enhancement therapy (also referred to simply as MET) is an approach to therapy that uses intervention and counseling to initiate a motivation to make critical life changes. MET can often be combined with other forms of counseling for people with a substance addiction. At its most effective, motivational enhancement therapy (MET) helps addicted people learn how to change their own thoughts and behaviors.
There are four targeted treatment sessions in MET, each of which will be custom-tailored to you and your unique needs. Early sessions will focus on evaluating information provided from the initial assessment and setting achievable goals for your future. Later, you will be provided with new perspectives and positive reinforcement for staying sober and successfully continuing with your recovery.
Like most addiction therapy programs, MET begins with an assessment to ascertain where you are in your addiction, the current state of your body and mind, and what course of treatment will be best suited to help you overcome your substance use disorder.
MET is also effective in treating co-occurring mental health disorders, which further strengthens your chances of avoiding relapse, understanding yourself and your struggles, and coping with all that life throws at you going forward. It is common for addicted people to have co-occurring mental health issues because both can be affected by a brain chemistry imbalance.
Motivational enhancement therapy can be a significant and holistic step on your recovery journey by simultaneously treating all that holds you back.
Some common co-occurring conditions include:
MET is rooted in five key principles that the therapist uses to help you.
You are so much more than the self-destructive behavior you have exhibited in your past. During MET, therapists will develop an environment of understanding and earn your trust by expressing empathy. They will listen, understand and ask you to expand upon experiences you have had and the emotions you have felt and are feeling currently.
You will acknowledge the gap between your desire for change and your current lifestyle or behavior that is keeping you from successfully making those changes in your life. Your therapist(s) will stress to you that MET is unlikely to deliver immediate gratification. Instead, you will learn that the benefits of this therapeutic approach unfurl over time and with your commitment to the process.
There is no judgment of you in MET, nor will there be an attack on you or your thought process, not even if you are looking to be aggressive and pick a fight. This is because arguments are not productive and will not help to move the dial toward your recovery. Instead, a MET practitioner will use positive responses to any negativity you bring to the table and, in turn, show that that’s more effective in raising awareness of a given problem or problematic behavior.
Change is hard and requires work. Often, people will resist and even stop coming to therapy. Your therapist is trained not to confront your resistance to change. They understand that change does not come easy. Alternatively, in MET, you will be listened to without judgment or any hint of defensiveness. This will lessen your resistance to change and give you fewer reasons to stop showing up to therapy sessions.
A vital aspect of any transformation is believing that the true power to change is located within you and remains at all times in your control. Counselors will help you understand that the needed skills to achieve your goals already exist inside you, but you need help learning how to harness that power.