Not everyone walks into an addiction treatment center ready to make a change. This is completely understandable since alcohol and drugs can take so much from an addict, including the ability to make healthy choices. One way that addiction professionals help clients shift these views is through a treatment called motivational interviewing.
Motivational interviewing is a form of psychotherapy aimed at targeting your motivations to change. The methods will explore the internal motivations for your beliefs and behaviors, with the goal of resolving ambivalence.
People might enter drug and alcohol treatment knowing that they need to stop drinking or drugging, yet they are still unable to imagine a life without alcohol or occasional drug use. These ambivalent feelings about addiction can be a barrier to recovery and also lead to relapse.
Motivational therapy will not necessarily tell patients what actions to do or which pathway to take, but rather give them the tools they need to change attitudes and behaviors.
How Motivational Interviewing Is Used for Addiction Treatment
When patients participate in motivational interviewing, they will have the opportunity to describe and discuss their feelings of ambivalence. The therapist will respond with feedback and open-ended questions that allow the patient to work through these issues and create a realistic plan of action.
It is not uncommon for a person with a substance use disorder to have an ongoing internal tug of war. On the one hand, you want to stop drinking or taking drugs. On the other, you would like to continue with their use and just have the negative consequences disappear. Motivational interviewing can help resolve these conflicts based on four assumptions:
- Ambivalence toward substance abuse is a normal challenge on the path to recovery.
- People possess natural values and motivations that can assist in overcoming ambivalence.
- There is a collaborative relationship between the client and the therapist.
- A supportive, directive, and empathetic approach to therapy can create the conditions necessary to produce change.
Effectiveness as a Treatment for Addiction
Motivational therapy is a recognized and proven method of addiction treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse recognize this therapy as an effective way to assist with the treatment of substance use disorder.
A study published in 1997 reviewed multiple clinical trials that involved motivational interviewing. The study, published in the Journal of Substance Misuse, concluded that this form of addiction treatment was "an effective, efficient, and adaptive therapeutic style" for drug users and problem drinkers.
Few people like to be told what to do, and drug addicts seem to be particularly resistant to authority. A 2005 study published in The British Journal of General Practice confirms that this type of therapy is a better approach for this group. The results of a review of 72 clinical trials found that motivational interviewing was more effective than "traditional advice giving."
If you or any of your loved ones want to stop drinking or abusing drugs but still have misgivings, that should not prevent you from seeking qualified addiction treatment services. At The Recovery Village, we offer a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes motivational interviewing to examine feelings of ambivalence.
Contact us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about your circumstances and discuss your admissions options.