What Is Motivational Interviewing?
Have you ever felt like a light bulb went off, and you could feel your life taking a right turn after a good, long, honest, and vulnerable conversation? This is because you were speaking with someone who gave you their undivided attention, cared about you, truly listened, and was not judgmental. This, in a nutshell, is the essence of motivational interviewing.
Motivational interviewing (also referred to simply as MI) is an approach to counseling that was developed, in part, by two psychologists. It is a client-centered style of therapy designed to bring about a change in behavior patterns. A therapist will attempt to achieve this by helping clients explore and resolve their ambivalence while promoting growth and self-awareness.
When it is compared to a non-directive approach to counseling, motivational interviewing is goal-directed and more focused. With the use of direction, therapists actively work to positively influence clients while encouraging them to consider making changes in their lives.
Examining and resolving ambivalence is one of the core principles of motivational interviewing. Making recovery-friendly decisions, both large and small, help people stay on track. Therefore, your MI counselor will intentionally direct you to pursue and achieve this goal.
The Goals of Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing involves a counseling method that focuses on helping people commit to the challenging process of changing behavior patterns for the better. The goals of motivational interviewing are to increase motivation to change and expressing this commitment. The therapeutic directive to elicit such a commitment is key because simply stating a need or desire to change is often not enough of an impetus to see that change through. Instead, hearing yourself put a marker down and expressing a verbal commitment has been shown to help improve a client’s ability to follow through and actually make the necessary changes. Essentially, you will feel more accountable to make the changes you need to make to live the life you want to live.
One of the key principles of motivational interviewing is that it should be non-confrontational and collaborative. This means that the therapist does not assume a “savior” role, but rather aims to empower the client by being a partner in setting goals and determining strategies for change. This approach relies on active listening skills, such as reflective listening and responding. It also involves exploring ambivalence and providing feedback in a way that respects the client’s autonomy and encourages self-efficacy.
What Are Some Motivational Interviewing Techniques?
To successfully get you to become an active participant in the positive change in your life, several motivational interviewing techniques may be used, including evoking your intrinsic motivation to make a change in spite of lingering ambivalence. Evoking is a central technique for motivational interviewing and involves recognizing and celebrating clients’ individual interests to help them change.
There are four communication skills our Boston drug treatment specialists use to successfully perform motivational interviewing:
- Asking open-ended questions
- Offering affirmation
- Practicing reflective listening
- Summarizing the discussions and talk of making changes
These skills will support and strengthen the process of eliciting all-important changes from you. The role of a therapist practicing motivational interviewing in an intensive outpatient program is concerned more with listening than intervening. For this reason, motivational interviewing can be combined with other therapeutic interventions, including the following:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most commonly used types of addiction treatment. It focuses on helping you recognize and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior. The objective is to promote healthy coping skills that help you manage your addiction.
One of the main goals of CBT is to learn how to identify and avoid situations that can lead to substance abuse. This may involve changing certain behaviors or learning how to manage cravings when they arise by using strategies like distraction and mindfulness.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse treatment is a process of addressing the negative consequences that substance use and abuse has on a person’s life. Through various therapeutic approaches and strategies, individuals can begin to:
- Address the underlying causes of their addictive behaviors
- Reduce their risk for relapse
- Improve their overall quality of life
There are several different types of substance abuse treatment programs available. These range from intensive inpatient or residential care to outpatient therapy and support groups. Each of these approaches has its own unique strengths. In addition, each can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each person who enters treatment.