The Powerful Effects of Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Effective addiction rehabilitation doesn’t concentrate on one specific type of treatment, but rather uses a combination of therapeutic approaches, including motivational enhancement therapy (MET). When tradespeople do a job, they don’t bring one tool, they bring a toolbox- rehab works the same way.  No single treatment has been shown to be effective for everyone, so the better equipped each person is, the more likely that success will occur.

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

 

Motivational Enhancement Therapy(MET) works by helping to teach how to change thoughts and behaviors from within. 1 With the MET approach, a therapist doesn’t train and guide you, but rather works with you to find your own motivation for making changes. Rather than having someone provide guidance step by step for changing behaviors, MET relies on your own motivation. Motivational Enhancement Therapy can be a long-lasting treatment, because no one else is needed for this to work; you just need your own internal motivations that are always with you.

History of Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment

In 1993, Motivational Enhancement Therapy was one of the therapeutic approaches studied in Project MATCH. The study was United States government-funded for treatment of alcohol problems. The project was initiated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Within Project MATCH, MET was conceived as a four-session adaptation of motivational interviewing(MI) and motivational therapy that provided feedback and explored client motivation to change in view of the feedback. MET was formed from motivational psychology principles and uses techniques that are also used in motivational interviewing (MI). MI is a type of therapy that was created by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. 2

MI is a client-centered therapeutic approach that helps people to resolve their ambivalent feelings. In MET, the techniques of MI are integrated into a well-defined therapeutic approach that consists of a comprehensive assessment of a person’s behaviors and feedback based on the findings.

How Does Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment Work?

 

Motivational Enhancement Therapy is a short series of personalized sessions. The first step is the therapist makes an individual assessment. Then the early sessions concentrate on looking at the information, which was obtained in the assessment, to set goals.

When MET is used in an addiction treatment setting, abstinence is the main goal of all treatments. The later sessions focus on giving perspective and positive reinforcement for remaining sober. If it’s appropriate and consent is provided, a significant other may be invited to participate in later sessions.

MET focuses on boosting your deep-seated motivation by:

  • increasing your recognition and understanding of a problem
  • changing any self-defeating thoughts you have connected to the problem
  • increasing your confidence in your ability to change

Rather than a therapist telling you what your problems are and what you should do about them, a MET therapist encourages self-motivating declarations that demonstrate a clear understanding of the problems. This encourages a resolve to make changes.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Dual Diagnosis

MET can be used to treat addiction and a co-occurring disorder at the same time. It’s important to treat all issues to prevent future relapse. Co-occurring disorders that MET treats include:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders

Misconceptions About Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment

A misconception regarding MET has to do with rolling with resistance. If a therapist doesn’t directly address resistance, some people may view it as approving resistant behavior, which may encourage it, but this is not the case.

Though it may seem unproductive, MET counselors are trained not to confront resistance to change, because this approach recognizes the fact that change isn’t easy. Instead, MET counselors listen to their clients without judgment or defensiveness, which can decrease the individual’s resistance to change. Rolling with resistance also gives the individual far less reasons to stop coming to therapy.

The Five Motivational Key Principles of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

 

There are five key motivational principles typically used by a MET therapist during treatment sessions. The principles include expressing empathy, developing discrepancy, avoiding argument, rolling with resistance and encouraging self-efficacy. These are used to help identify the differences in the clients’ behavior and beliefs to help them grow into a person that more closely follows their personal morals.

 

Expressing Empathy

Your therapist will build up trust with you to establish unity as you both work to a common goal – overcoming addiction. Your counselor will listen to you empathetically, and rather than trying to draw out responses from you, your therapist will listen to you and reflect back your motivational talk so you can recognize it.

Developing Discrepancy

As you discuss your personal goals with the therapist, he or she will understand the distance you have to go to achieve your goals. In MET, your therapist will highlight the discrepancy between your desired goals and your present situation. By pointing out discrepancy, you can then recognize the ways your current behaviors stop you from achieving your goals. Developing discrepancies can also give you powerful incentives for changing your behaviors.

Avoiding Argument

Your therapist won’t argue or give negative responses as talk occurs freely. This is to encourage honesty. You won’t have to worry about having to defend yourself or feeling judged for what you’re expressing.

Rolling with Resistance

An important goal in MET is that your therapist will avoid making you express resistance, which is anti-motivational. If resistance is expressed by you by interrupting, arguing, sidetracking, or becoming defensive in a therapy session, your MET therapist will roll with any resistance you may express. Rolling with resistance means your therapist will never meet it head on, because this can make you simply more resistant. In MET, rather than confronting resistance, your therapist will try to calm and reduce resistance by reflective listening.

Encouraging Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is the way you view your own competence and ability to achieve your goals. Your MET counselor will encourage you to realize you’re capable of achieving your goals, because you possess the needed skills to do so, including finding and using your strength to give up drugs or alcohol.

Effectiveness of Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment

 

When a therapist and client spend only two to four sessions exploring the benefits of getting and staying sober, reviewing different treatment options, and coming together to plan and put treatment goals into action, research shows that MET may be one of the most low-cost treatment methods.3

One study showed that motivational interviewing, which is part of MET, helped overcome people’s hesitation to go to treatment more persuasively than did conventional techniques.

Another research study showed that four sessions of MET were as effective as 12 of either twelve-step facilitation (TSF) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 4

What Training Is Required to Administer Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

Experienced, licensed clinicians work jointly with their clients in defining goals and recognizing the power each client holds to achieve those goals, which leads to a more sober, rewarding and successful life. There is no MET certification for this process.

Counselors who work in addiction treatment centers typically have the education, training and experience in working with many other evidence-based therapeutic approaches besides MET, including:

  • MI – Motivational Interviewing
  • ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Mindfulness-based relapse prevention

How Can I Integrate Motivational Enhancement Therapy in My Life After Addiction Treatment?

 

After only two to four MET sessions you’ll have a plan for change that you’ve built during your sessions. After treatment, you’ll use that plan to rebuild a sober and rewarding life.

You’ll exit MET with a sense of empowerment and enlightenment about your motivations and strength to achieve your goals that will help light the way to abstinence. Having resolved ambivalence about engaging in substance use you’ll possess the internal motivation to change and keep a sober life.

When you exit treatment, you’ll be armed with a comprehensive aftercare plan that will reinforce your journey in a life of sobriety. Relapse prevention will be part of most aftercare plans, so be sure to follow it when you experience temptations or triggers. Keep your eye on your goals to live a sober, rewarding and successful life.

Where Can I Find Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

Research shows that MET is effective and less costly in treating substance abuse, anxiety and a wide-range of co-occurring mental health conditions, such as OCD, PTSD, bipolar and eating disorders. Silvermist has integrated MET as an evidence-based approach into our treatment programs to help young adults overcome substance abuse and other mental health issues.

Silvermist – Young Adult Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania

At Silvermist Recovery in Pennsylvania, we understand the critical need for specialized, effective and evidence-based treatment for young adults suffering with substance use disorders. Our treatment approaches and compassionate care help young people achieve long-lasting changes and sober lives.

Silvermist is dedicated to focusing on substance abuse disorders as well as other mental health problems effectively and collectively to create real change. Transformation in the lives of young adults to overcome their addictions starts with giving them direction and goals as well as a plan to achieve their goals. One approach is MET, but we also incorporate many other evidence-based therapies that help young people develop their abilities, recognize their individualism, and reduce their addictive traits and behaviors.

Call us today at (877) 927-2562 to get started on a life of renewal and healing.