One technique that we utilize in our intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program is motivational intervention. Motivational interventions, also known as motivational interviewing, have the power to help individuals find physical, emotional, and psychological healing for their addictions.
How does motivational interviewing work?
Motivational interviewing is a type of psychotherapy that centers around an individual’s desire and motivation for change. Many who are battling addiction exhibit ambivalence toward substance abuse. This is normal. This ambivalence, however, becomes a major barrier in addiction recovery and ultimately means the individual will resist change. Rather than pushing a desire to overcome addiction on the individual, the therapist will help the individual find an internal desire for change by exploring with them the consequences of addictive behaviors.
While some forms of counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are centered around problem solving, motivational interviewing is centered around the attitudes, motivations, and values behind our actions. Successful motivational interviewing helps individuals with an addiction to drugs or alcohol find the desire within themselves to change their lives and ultimately abandon their addictions. Some individuals will need more involved motivational interviewing throughout the course of their recovery in order to sustain motivation in recovery.
What are the benefits of motivational interviewing?
Ambivalence, in the world of addiction recovery, is defined as understanding the dangers of substance abuse without having a desire to embrace a drug- or alcohol-free life. It is not denial or resistance but rather disparate feelings toward addiction and recovery. An individual might at some level have a desire to change, but at the same time the individual might want to keep using. This is often because the individual is still reflecting on the pleasures or more positive aspects of their substance abuse, such as self-medication, fun, and sociality.
Motivational interviewing helps overcome this ambivalence. And since it is very much centered around acceptance and respect, it can provide just the environment that an individual needs in order to find steady ground for their recovery.
Motivational interviewing also embraces the notion that an individual ultimately has the power to change their lives on their own. This does not mean, of course, that an individual is expected to abandon an addict without a comprehensive support system of both friends and qualified individuals, but it does mean that through motivational interviewing, individuals can come to believe that they have it within themselves to initiate change.