Motivational Interviewing (MI) for Addiction Treatment by Rehab Recovery Centers

Addiction is a serious disease that affects millions of Americans on a daily basis. Motivational interviewing (MI) is an effective form of addiction therapy that works by strengthing an individual’s motivation for recovery. In other words, this therapeutic technique allows individuals to properly commit to and meet certain goals, such as sobriety and addiction recovery. Recovering from an addiction is a very difficult hurdle to overcome due to a lack of motivation and confidence. Motivational interviewing for addiction treatment helps people overcome these issues.

There are many worries and fears associated with getting sober after dealing with addiction. For example, many people deal with health issues, social and legal consequences, as well as financial costs. However, despite all of this, the idea of giving up substances is intimidating enough.

Oftentimes, the fear of giving up one’s substance of choice leads to a lack of motivation to get sober as well as a negative outlook on sobriety altogether. Sometimes individuals feel as if they can never get sober, staying sober is too hard, or they aren’t ready yet. Fortunately, motivational interviewing helps individuals overcome their fears regarding sobriety, allowing them to gain ambition and confidence in recovery.

What is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?

Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic process developed by an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, named Dr. William R. Miller. MI was first referenced in a 1983 issue of Behavioral Psychotherapy and he has since published multiple books on the implementation and effectiveness of motivational interviewing. Instead of a personality trait, practitioners of MI treat motivation as an interpersonal process. In other words, this means that motivation is a taught mindset that is encouraged.

Motivational interviewing is meant to be applied in combination with other forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is because it does not focus on trauma recovery or underlying treatment, only the motivation, and confidence needed to achieve sobriety. While MI utilizes various treatment styles and theories, including humanistic therapy, cognitive dissonance theory, therapeutic relationship building, and positive psychology, it is recommended to be used in conjunction with another form of treatment.

Three Concepts of Motivational Interviewing Applied to Addiction Treatment

What makes MI different from other therapeutic practices is the 3 key concepts it utilizes. To begin, instead of a therapy session, MI meetings are referred to as interviews. Instead of a confrontation by a therapist, MI is considered a collaborative process between the therapist and the patient.

Next, patients will create their own goals rather than a therapist trying to enforce sobriety onto the patient. When men and women in recovery feel as if they are in control of their own sobriety, they begin to become more motivated to set and reach goals. This makes reaching long-term sobriety much more effective.

This leads us to the third concept: patient autonomy. More often than not, addiction treatment may feel like a surrender of an individual’s freedom to the authority of a therapist. Instead, motivational interviewing focuses on ensuring that patients feel empowered by putting the responsibility of making changes on the patient, rather than the therapist. As a result, patients are responsible for their own actions and confidence in their recovery, allowing them to stay sober and avoid relapsing after treatment.

The 4 Processes of Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a therapeutic tool intended to be used in addition to other forms of therapy and addiction treatment methods. Motivational interviewing is only intended to inspire change and build confidence for individuals who are reluctant to get sober. Four client-centered processes were developed by the founders of MI to help patients identify their goals and begin to work towards them.

The 4 processes of MI include:

  • Engaging- This includes the therapist getting to know the client and establishing a trusting and respectful relationship.
  • Focusing- This process includes establishing a shared idea about the main focus of a patient’s treatment.
  • Evoking- During this process, the therapist helps the patient to challenge their own arguments for change.
  • Planning- Lastly, the patient becomes willing and able to imagine change and plan how they will manifest it.

What is Motivational Interviewing Used For?

Motivational interviewing is most effective in the treatment of alcohol addiction. According to research, the social acceptability and legality of alcohol use tend to cause individuals with alcohol use disorder to become more ambivalent regarding their addiction. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, MI is up to 20% more effective than other methods of treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

Additionally, because of its effectiveness, motivational interviewing is commonly used to treat other substance and behavioral addictions as well as mental health conditions. For example, some of these include gambling addictions, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and internet addictions. Also, MI may be utilized to increase one’s motivation for positive behaviors, such as exercising and healthy eating.

Motivational Interviewing for Addiction Treatment

Overall, tons of research support MI as an effective, evidence-based treatment practice. The longer motivational interviewing is implemented, the more significant and long-lasting the results will be. Especially when used in combination with other forms of treatment, motivational interviewing is a successful form of addiction treatment. Additionally, MI is diverse and adaptable, allowing it to effectively treat mental health and substance abuse disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, contact Rehab Recovery Centers today. We can help you find the best rehab in your city.

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