Silvermist Recovery uses motivational interviewing in combination with various traditional treatments and therapies to enhance outcomes for people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Originally defined back in 1983 by clinical psychologist William Miller, motivational interviewing is a specific type of counseling approach used to treat people overcoming drug or alcohol addictions.
What is Motivational Interviewing?
Motivational interviewing (MI) is a goal-oriented style of therapy designed to help people in recovery prepare for making positive behavior changes. The approach is patient-centered, so each session will be different for each person’s own needs.
The therapist works to encourage people to discover their own underlying motivation to change harmful or self-destructive behaviors. Everyone’s motivations for change are unique to them. The goals they hope to achieve by changing negative behaviors are also individual.
In fact, research indicates that motivational interviewing therapy is particularly effective for those people who are initially ambivalent or resistant to change1.
What Happens in Motivational Interviewing Sessions?
Every motivational interviewing therapy session will be different, as the entire premise is patient-centered. As each recovering person’s underlying reasons for change are unique to them, the structure of each session is based on discussions between counselor and patient and where those talks lead.
A licensed mental health therapist will ask a series of open-ended questions designed to encourage a more in-depth response than simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The basis for asking questions in this way is to initiate and establish a dialogue between the therapist and the person in recovery.
Other types of therapy might rely on the therapist offering advice or guidance or direction. By comparison, motivational interviewing is more about developing trust and rapport between counselor and patient. The entire basis behind MI therapy is goal-driven, so the recovering person is encouraged to develop their own goals.
When those goals have been identified, sessions can begin to focus on the relationship between the recovering person’s behaviors and how they may affect achieving those goals. The recovering person may also be invited to make suggestions about what specific actions they could take to help them achieve those goals and eventually become the person they want to be.
It may seem as though discussions focus on positive aspects of change and aiming towards achieving goals. However, MI counselors will also encourage discussion about negative behaviors or thoughts that may arise.
Overall, each session is a non-judgmental and non-confrontational discussion session designed to make recovering people feel comfortable expressing their past, present and future behaviors, as well as developing and aiming towards their hopes and dreams. It’s up to the individual person to make their own decisions about their reasons for wanting to change and the choices they make, even if they decide in the end not to change.
It’s up to each person in recovery to choose their own path.
Benefits of Motivational Interviewing for Addiction Recovery
In motivational interviewing therapy sessions, the person in recovery does much of the psychological work themselves. After all, only the person in recovery knows what they hope to achieve by changing negative or self-destructive behaviors. Their goals for the future are solely their own and only they can determine what they hope to achieve.
A counselor will guide each person to think about some of their own personal reasons for or against change and consider potential outcomes they’d like to see happen. For example, one person may choose to give up drinking and stay sober in order to rebuild relationships with family or friends, while another may choose to stay abstinent from drugs in an effort to build a different type of life than they experienced prior to rehab treatment.
The primary benefit of motivational interviewing techniques is that the individual person is responsible for the choices they make for changing behaviors. The counselor’s role is to help each person detect and understand any contradictions between current beliefs, thoughts and actions that could be standing in the way of them achieving the goals they want to reach.
Motivational Interviewing for Recovery
When You Leave Treatment
Graduating from a comprehensive addiction rehab treatment program is a significant achievement. However, leaving rehab doesn’t mean treatment should end. Rather, recovery is an ongoing process that requires management.
Addiction treatment specialists work closely with each recovering person to help them build a strong aftercare program before they leave rehab. The actual programs in each person’s aftercare plan will be different, based on their own individual needs.
The majority of people in recovery will have learned a variety of coping skills and gained plenty of recovery resources and tools designed to help them put newly-learned strategies into practice in everyday life.
Despite those new skills and tools, it’s also important to continue participating in treatments and therapies that provided support and guidance through the recovery process.
Reflecting on certain behaviors and actions and how they impact or impede achieving certain goals is a valuable skill. Those in recovery can continue to use lessons learned in motivational interviewing long after leaving rehab, not just to remain abstinent, but in many other goal-directed areas of life too.