Motivational Enhancement Therapy is a person-centred approach that focuses on improving an individual’s motivation to change (Good Therapy, 2018). When working with clients suffering from addiction, counsellors are tasked with encouraging the client to take responsibility for themselves and improve the quality of their life. Counsellors should help clients to better understand problematic behaviour and find the motivation to change these negative actions.
Through MET, individuals can resolve their ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping their drug use (NIDA, 2020). This approach is designed to evoke rapid and internally motivated change, rather than guide the patient through the steps of the recovery process (NIDA, 2020). If you’re interested in learning more about assisting clients with addiction, read on for a guide to the goals and techniques of motivational enhancement therapy.
What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy?
A significant barrier to treatment is often a person’s motivation and their belief that a problem exists (American Addiction Centers, 2021). This encompasses addictive behaviors relating to substances, sex, internet, gambling, and other issues. Motivational Enhancement Therapy aims to help a person recognize that a problem exists and to come to their own conclusions that something needs to change (American Addiction Centers, 2021).
Professionals with an addiction counsellor diploma can apply MET to help an individual view their behaviours more objectively and empower them to begin the process of change. At its core, Motivational Therapy does not attempt to convince clients that change is in their best interests – instead it appeals to the client’s own arguments for change (Recovery Research Institute, 2021). By building motivation in clients, counsellors can encourage lasting change that stems from the individual themselves.
Goals of Motivational Enhancement Therapy
MET is made up of four targeted treatment sessions, with each session personalized to the needs of the individual (Juergens, 2021). Early sessions focus on initial assessment and setting goals for the future, while later sessions focus on building perspective and positive reinforcement for the client (Juergens, 2021). Those with addictions counsellor training can use these sessions to encourage clients to adjust any self-defeating thoughts and increase confidence in their ability to change.
MET is based on five motivational principles that are designed to guide the counsellor’s work: expressing empathy, acknowledging discrepancy between thoughts and reality, avoiding arguments, accepting resistance as part of the process, and supporting self-efficacy in clients (Good Therapy, 2018). These are all strategies a counsellor can use to encourage feelings of motivational change in clients suffering from addiction.
Treating Clients After Addictions Counsellor Training
MET is both non confrontational and nonjudgmental (Good Therapy, 2018). During sessions, counsellors form a collaborative bond with their client by listening and respecting them rather than forcing change upon them (American Addiction Centers, 2021). Reflective listening is a common tool where the counsellor may repeat back what the client says to them in their own words (American Addiction Centers, 2021). In the process, clients can gain objective insight into their personal problems (American Addiction Centers, 2021). By taking a positive, client-centric approach to counselling, professionals can help addicts to conquer their detrimental behaviour and regain their enthusiasm for a better life.
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American Addictions Center (2021). Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Retrieved from https://treatmentsolutions.com/treatment/therapies/motivational-enhancement/
Good Therapy (2018). Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/motivational-enhancement-therapy
Juergens, J. (2021). Understanding Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). Retrieved from https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/motivational-enhancement-therapy/
NIDA (2020). Motivational Enhancement Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Nicotine). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies/motivational-enhancement-therapy
Recovery Research Institute (2021). Motivational Interviewing and Enhancement Therapies. Retrieved from https://www.recoveryanswers.org/resource/motivational-interviewing-motivational-enhancement-therapies-mi-met/