Motivational Interviewing Therapy

What is Motivational Interviewing Therapy?

Most people are surprised to find that there are many different types of therapy. These different types of therapy feature different techniques, offer different benefits, and help us work toward different goals. The goal of motivational interviewing therapy is two-fold. First, it helps us identify and accept our ambivalence and insecurity toward changing damaging habits and thought patterns. Second, it helps us find the internal motivation we need to make positive changes.  

First tested in 1983 to help individuals with drinking problems, the technique has been developed, tested, and proven effective in many different settings over the years.

Motivational Interviews as a Therapeutic Tool in Recovery

Motivational interviewing therapy can be largely beneficial to those in recovery. Person-centered approaches like this one help us find our own unique motivations to change. They take the external out of the equation.

Our reasons for change should be consistent with our own goals, beliefs, and values. Motivational interviews help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, including the root causes of our addictions, why we want to change, and why we struggle when it comes time to do so.

Motivational Interviewing Therapy

Components of Motivational Interview Techniques

There are four components to motivational interviewing therapy:

  • Engaging
  • Focusing
  • Evoking
  • Planning

Engaging is the first step in any type of counseling. Open and honest communication is the foundation for treatments like these, and starting a dialogue this way helps us build trust and understanding moving forward.

Conversations that revolve around change can be difficult. Most of us are naturally resistant to change. And there is a biological reason for this. Our bodies interpret change as a threat. This is what we’re talking about when we reference our fight or flight instincts.

We are hardwired to resist change. But we can change that when we need to. Focusing on one specific behavior or thought pattern at a time can help ensure that we are being productive and making progress rather than resisting, avoiding, or making excuses.

Evoking Our Motivations and Planning for Long-Term Success

The third component is where we start to make a change. Evoking our unique motivations for change is what separates motivational interview therapy from other types of counseling. This is where we identify why we want to change and work through how to do it.

We find ways to align our behaviors and thoughts with our goals and values. Aligning our recovery goals with our values, rather than external factors and individuals, can make it easier to stay on track when challenges arise.

Now that engaging, focusing, and evoking have set the stage for us to take action, it’s time to start planning. Rather than going from nothing to everything, this planning should include taking small steps toward change.

These small steps can help you work toward your goals a little bit at a time, building your confidence and motivation along the way. Some examples of small steps you can take toward change include attending one AA or NA meeting, reading a self-help book, or asking about your treatment options.

Benefits of Motivational Interviewing Therapy

If you’re wondering how addiction treatment and motivational interviews relate, the answer is simple. Motivational interviewing therapy facilitates positive changes based on personal goals and motivations. And addiction is profoundly personal.

Your recovery should be, too. Research tells us that motivational interviewing can effectively reduce or eliminate substance use and other health-risk behaviors. This has been proven in many settings and across genders, ages, races, and ethnicities.  

It has also been proven to help those with both alcohol and drug addictions. Motivational interviewing therapy focuses on change talk, reflection, and motivation to change. It facilitates positive changes by allowing us to come up with our own reasons for it.

Ambivalence toward change is a barrier that prevents us from decreasing unhealthy behaviors and increasing healthy ones. Motivational interviewing therapy aims to help us change that.

Other Types of Therapy Used in Recovery

Motivational enhancement therapies are only one type of treatment we use in recovery. Everyone is different. And every addiction is different, too. We know that different individuals in recovery respond better to different strategies.

That is why we offer a wide range of treatment techniques to meet a wide range of recovery needs and goals. It is also why we only offer customized care plans rather than one-size-fits-all programs.

In addition to motivational interviewing therapy, we also offer:

  • Group and individual talk therapy sessions.
  • Family counseling
  • Medication-assisted therapy.
  • Music and art therapy.
  • Psychodrama therapy.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Rational-emotive behavioral therapy.
Motivational Interviewing Therapy

Why Different Types of Therapy are Necessary

As we mentioned at the start of this article, different therapies feature different techniques, offer different benefits, and help us work toward different goals. We know that motivational interviewing therapy helps us find our own unique motivation to change.

Family counseling, on the other hand, helps us solve conflicts in our relationships, build healthy communication skills, and understand how our actions affect others. These two types of therapy are examples of focusing on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivations.

Art and music therapies help with stress and anger management, promote overall emotional wellness, and give us a healthy outlet for expressing ourselves. Similarly, psychodrama therapy helps us find healthier ways to respond to the emotional triggers that often lead to relapse.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most common features in all recovery programs. It is a form of talk therapy that examines how what we think, how we feel, and how we behave connect.

Simply put, it shows us that our thoughts can determine our feelings and behaviors. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to help us replace negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with positive ones.

Rational-emotive behavioral therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on correcting irrational assumptions about ourselves so that we can resolve the emotional and behavioral problems that lead us to addiction.

Lastly, medication-assisted therapy involves using certain approved medications alongside counseling or behavioral therapies. This type of therapy is primarily used to treat opioid addictions, including addictions to heroin and prescription painkillers.

Medication-assisted therapy can help prevent or reduce opioid overdoses, reduce drug cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, normalize our brain chemistry, and contribute to sustained sobriety.

We also offer alternative treatment methods, including meditation, yoga, and massage, to help reduce stress and aid your recovery.

Choosing the Right Type of Therapy

Choosing the right type of therapy is not something you have to figure out on your own. We will work with you to determine the course of action that you will benefit from the most. Many of our treatment programs feature more than one treatment type.

Depending on the severity of your addiction and withdrawal symptoms, your schedule, goals, and other needs, we will help you choose the program type, treatments, and settings. Whether you’re looking for a full-time, residential treatment setting or part-time outpatient support while you recover at home, we can help.

Finding Recovery Support at The Discovery House

Recovering from addiction can be challenging and scary. But you don’t have to face it alone. Our staff is always here to offer care, support, and guidance as we walk you through the entire recovery process.

Rediscovering your life starts here at The Discovery House. Call us today at 818-452-1676. Our confidential call line is always open.