Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) may be the approach needed to help kickstart sobriety. This counseling method will help increase a person’s motivation to choose recovery and begin rehabilitation. Discover the main principles of MET, how it differs from other therapy methods, and if it’s right for you or your loved one.
What Is MET?
Deciding to end the cycle of addiction can be difficult when that person remains ambivalent toward the options in front of them. The aforementioned point is what MET aims to resolve. Motivational enhancement therapy is a therapeutic approach to help those move past apathy and see sobriety and wellness in a positive light. Meant to elicit motivated change, MET may be what’s needed to help those struggling with addiction to actively choose treatment.
Despite being aware of the detrimental effects of their actions on their health, relationships, and social functioning, those who engage in self-destructive activities are frequently indifferent or lack the motivation to change.
A therapist with MET training can often assist a client in seeing behaviors more objectively, and with MET, a client may feel empowered to start the process of change. The foundation of MET is motivational psychology, which uses tactics from the William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick-created counseling method known as motivational interviewing.
The five motivational principles of MET are:
- Express empathy: By utilizing reflective listening and creating a supportive environment, a client can feel supported and heard. When a client speaks, the therapist will listen and reflect it back, making small but purposeful changes. The changes urge the person to elaborate and let them know that the therapist has heard and understood them.
- Develop discrepancy: The therapist’s focus is the difference between a person’s ideal state of being and their actual state of being. This disparity may make it easier to see how one’s existing behaviors prevent them from attaining their goals and may act as a powerful motivator for behavior change.
- Avoid argumentation: A therapist will refrain from criticizing a patient or their behavior as this is regarded to elicit resistance and defensiveness. Other kinder techniques are employed to bring any issues to light, and any statements regarding the need for change should come from the patient, not the therapist.
- Roll with resistance: The therapist attempts to diffuse any opposition instead of immediately facing it via reflective listening or by simply concurring with what the patient is saying. Although it may seem contradictory, this method reduces the likelihood of future defensiveness. It may increase the chances that a patient will continue therapy and benefit from other intervention components.
- Support self-efficacy: The belief that you can change and the motivation to change often go hand in hand. The ability to help people see their capacity to carry out the actions required for recovery successfully is part of a therapist’s role.
Although there may be variances, MET is usually straightforward: It typically consists of four therapy sessions, with an initial evaluation coming first to gather data on behaviors connected to the main issue. The therapist will commonly offer structured feedback based on their assessment in the first of the four MET sessions.
In the following sessions, the therapist will likely encourage the client to discuss their worries over their substance abuse and what others may have commented about their behavior. Discussing a person’s short-term and long-term goals will help them understand how their addiction may interfere with these goals. As a result, a treatment plan will be made with the patient to motivate change.
Throughout these sessions, some MET techniques that may be used include:
- Open-ended questions: By using open-ended questions, the client can do most of the talking concerning their issues while the therapist can avoid sounding too upfront and/or judgmental.
- Reflective listening: Listening to a person and selectively recounting their statements can help a client feel understood and empathized. These thoughtful responses can also cause the client to become more communicative.
- Affirmations: When a therapist uses affirmations, it reminds a person that they have the power to change and recover. Discussing their strengths, skills, and their desire to recover can help inspire an indifferent patient.
- Change talk: Change talk can also be described as self-motivational statements. By eliciting change talk, a patient can understand that recovery is possible if they decide to change.
Who Is MET Best Suited For?
Although MET is most often used for those with substance abuse issues, it has also been used in treatments for those with anxiety, eating disorders, gambling addiction, and more. MET can be applied regardless of a person’s level of dedication. It has been demonstrated to be especially successful in situations where a person has significant resistance to change or is not highly motivated to change.
This may be seen in the case of substance abuse, as people who abuse drugs and alcohol frequently find it challenging to cease using because of how these behaviors reinforce one another. Because of its emphasis on quick change, MET is also appropriate when the therapist has little direct interaction with the patient.
Motivational enhancement therapy can help you find the motivation you or your loved one needs to start the path to recovery. At Avalon Malibu, we recognize how this therapeutic modality can help individuals move forward from experiences of substance use and other mental health struggles to start fresh. We value a holistic approach to therapy and offer multiple effective treatments as part of our customizable treatment plans. In addition to MET, Avalon Malibu also offers therapeutic activities such as art therapy, yoga, acupuncture, and more. Our team of professionals is here to support you as you take the first steps in your healing and all the steps after. Discover our different treatment programs and how they can bring lifelong recovery and healing. If you are ready to begin your journey to recovery from addiction, call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992.