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We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.
For many people addicted to drugs or alcohol, treating the causes and symptoms of the addiction will prove to be unsuccessful unless they are a willing participant in their recovery. The first step should always be gaining the recognition and acceptance that they have a problem and need treatment.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a treatment therapy that helps people struggling with addiction to come out of denial, and admit they have a problem that needs attention. In fact, it’s been so effective in getting addicts to start therapy, the “Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches” ranks MET at number 2 out of 48 treatment therapies.
MET doesn’t attempt to guide and train a patient with a step by step method. Instead, motivational strategies are employed so that individuals discover their own desire to change.
What are 5 Strategies of Motivational Enhancement Therapy?
- Establishing Empathy – therapists have to develop a bond with patient so that there’s an atmosphere of trust
- Recognizing Discrepancy – in the discussion of a patient’s goals for change, counselors acknowledge the amount of work that must be done and the time it will take to accomplish those objectives
- No Arguing – during MET there’s no quarrelling, even if a patient is trying to engage in or create one. Counselors are trained to offer positive responses rather than negative ones
- Accepting Resistance – change is difficult and there will always be obstacles. Therapists encourage their clients to work through and overcome resistance
- Developing Self-efficacy – with MET, individuals learn that they’re capable of achieving difficult goals, such as giving up alcohol or drugs
William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, both clinical psychologists who work with problem drinkers, developed Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Depending on a patient’s need, therapy sessions take place over several weeks, and generally include two follow-up sessions. An individual’s loved one or close friend is encouraged to attend the first two counseling sessions. Their presence can help break-through the denial that there’s a substance abuse problem.
Once a person understands and admits that they have a problem, they develop a “plan for change” with their therapist. As the therapy continues, they learn problem-solving techniques that assist in avoiding triggers that spark cravings to engage in destructive behavior. Motivational Enhancement Therapy shines a light on any underlying issues that kept a person in their addiction. Addressing these matters helps them stay sober.
As any recovering addict will tell you, long-term sobriety can only take hold if a person wants it. For some alcoholics and drug addicts, the journey to “rock bottom” can devastate them and their loved ones. The sooner a person realizes that they need help, the sooner healing can begin. This is the great benefit of motivational enhancement therapy, its effectiveness in getting patients to realize that for themselves.