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Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Addiction

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The difficulty in treating any kind of substance dependency is in the fact that the mind of a person has been conditioned to think that they absolutely need whatever it is that they have a dependency on. The dependency could be on a substance, an activity, or even on a person.

In many cases of substance abuse, the hardest part of overcoming is with actual rehabilitation that follows detoxification. This is where a person’s will is slowly being built up again so that they could say no to the habit, even as every fiber of their being wants them to go back to the addiction.

One of the most arduous parts of the recovery process is in trying to adopt a mindset where life could be good and normal again even without the substance they are addicted to. This is where counseling for substance abuse can be helpful. One such therapeutic approach is motivational enhancement therapy.

What is Motivational Enhancement Therapy?

motivational enhancement therapyAs the name suggests, motivational enhancement therapy, or MET, is a counseling method that seeks to motivate a person to fully commit to getting better through treatment. While many do want to get better and kick their substance dependency, the reality of it all comes crashing down on them when the withdrawal symptoms subside enough for them to think a bit more clearly.

More often than not, the patient is not altogether convinced of going through with treatment. This is why MET shores up a person’s will enough for them to understand the treatment is necessary if they want to return to a semblance of a normal life. The counseling also puts emphasis on the need to do the treatment sooner rather than later.

A person with substance use disorder perceives any kind of intervention or counseling in a much different way than others. For one, most of them will not see it as helping, only as people trying to stop them from engaging in substance misuse. This is the kind of thinking that motivational enhancement therapy seeks to correct.

How MET Helps Those Who Are in Treatment for Substance Abuse

Motivational therapy could help those with substance use disorder in various stages of the condition. From the time that they decide they want to kick the habit but are unsure if they could, to the time when detox has been done and they are feeling the urge to do substance again, to then they are completely clean and sober and would want to solidify their hold on a productive life.

The fact that the counseling seeks to remove self-defeating thought and attitude makes MET a gateway to thinking better, feeling better, and acting better, for the patient and anyone around them.

Help in Understanding that Treatment leads to Recovery

motivational enhancement therapyRecovery and kicking the habit is all well and good in words and on paper, but when one has to go through the process, it’s completely different. The irresistible urge that fuels addiction removes a person’s ability to think of anything else. This is why many actually try to escape rehabilitation facilities, or not go through the process at all.

MET therapy seeks to make the person realize that true change could only be accomplished by understanding what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and who needs to make it happen. The patient needs to understand that for it to work, they need to be completely onboard.

The all-consuming fear that it’s all painful and difficult will be removed once the benefits of treatment are understood, and this lays the foundation for the rest of the program.

Help in Fostering a Sense of Self-worth

Hearing people with substance abuse disorder talk about themselves is heartbreaking, as they have come to believe they are not worth saving. This lack of self-worth is a key component of why they continue to engage in substance abuse.

A lack of self-worth is a major motivation for people with substance dependencies to continue with their bad habits. Soon enough, this would be the only thing close to a motivation for these people as they dive deeper into addiction. Motivational therapy seeks to bring back their sense of self value, so that their motivation to take substances is replaced by something else.

Help in Realizing How Harmful Substance Abuse is to Everyone

Any sort of motivation needs an anchor so that the motivational idea is held in place and not swept away by other factors and concerns. Should a person’s self-worth not be enough to convince them of the harm brought about by their substance abuse, there is a chance they might be convinced if someone they care for is shown to be harmed as well.

This is why some practitioners of motivational enhancement therapy involve loved ones, family members, or significant others in the treatment. By impressing upon the patient the kind of harm they do to people they care for, their will and determination to get better could be made stronger.

In many cases, the presence of people they love or care for is instrumental to achieving a breakthrough in the treatment.

Help in Maintaining Determination and Vision

motivational enhancement therapyWhen a person does something difficult or something they really don’t want to do, the brain tricks them into doing something else. An individual doing research might be sidelined into other topics they come across as they go through reference materials. A writer might be tempted to procrastinate when ideas are slow to come.

This is even more so with trying to recover from substance abuse. Not only is the high that one gets from substance abuse the most addictive thing in life, but the physiological and neurological dependence on it makes quitting near impossible.

In this instance, falling off the wagon and losing the determination to push through with recovery is the easiest thing to do. Motivational therapy seeks to solidify a person’s determination to the point that it becomes the one solid thing they could hold on to continue with the program.

What Techniques are Employed in Motivational Enhancement Therapy?

Although quite intensive, motivational therapy is somewhat time-limited. The entire point of helping a person build motivation is so that they are able to drive themselves, instead of replacing their dependence on substances with therapy. This is why it is limited to a few sessions, after which, a person should have the desired motivation to help them.

As with any kind of therapy, the first session is an interview with the patient to create an assessment. This will set the tone for next sessions and how the program could be made more optimal for success. The treatment itself employ a number of motivational principles, including:

Empathy Exercises

Empathy is something the patient may have lost along the way as they were immersed in substance abuse. They may have lost the ability to express empathy because they could have been deprived of it themselves, or they simply found no reason to do so as they were only concerned about getting high.

This exercise is geared towards making the patient understand that their substance abuse actually harms others, particularly the ones who care for them. By removing indifference to the plight of others, even if they received the same indifference from others, the patient is better able to motivate themselves to avoid hurting the ones closest to them.

Bridging the Gap

People who want to overcome addiction may have a place they want to be in. It could be their home, with their family, or maybe at a good job, socializing with peers and friends. As they are recovering from substance abuse, there is a gap between where they want to be, and where they really are.

Motivation therapy seeks to bridge this gap by helping the patients understand there is a gap, why the gap is there, and what they need to do to close the gap. It’s one thing to want it, but another to take action to get to it.

Eliminating Arguments and Conflicts

Just because a person agreed to go into treatment does not mean they will like and agree to everything they see and hear. Arguments and conflicts in therapy, however, will not solve anything. It might even lead to resentment on the part of those seeking to recover.

There are some things discussed that might put the patient on the defensive, and this will effectively close their mind to everything else. This is resolved through gentle persuasion and the formation of an optimistic outlook on things.

Easing Resistance

Again, having enough cognizance to disagree is acceptable, but at the end of the day, the therapy needs to be the accepted outcome instead of the patient’s resistance or differing opinion. Therapists, however, know better than to try to break down a patient’s resistance with force.

Using force, intimidation tactics, or appearing to be berating the patient will only push them away or shut them down. What is needed here is to diffuse the volatile situation, gently persuade the patient to the validity of what they were disagreeing with, and ultimately use their willingness to stand up for what they believe to create the foundation for their motivation.

Encourage Self-Sufficiency and Empower Confidence

Confidence is something substance abusers are in severe lack of. They might have been insecure and full of self-doubt to begin with, which could have gotten them hooked on substances. This self-doubt will not do wonders for building motivation.

A huge part of helping people build their own motivation is helping them recover their confidence, and through that, make them self-sufficient. Confidence building goes a long way at this point to help them in their efforts to reintegrate into a normal life once more, complete with socializing again and getting a job.

Get Motivated to End Addiction Casco Bay Recovery

Unless a person wants to get better on their own, any attempt to do so might either take really long to complete, or not be completed at all. The correct motivation, borne from a person’s willingness and personal stance, will be the fuel that drives them to complete treatment and continue through life-long recovery.

We at Casco Bay Recovery know this by heart, because we have helped people in this way for some time now. Contact us now, and begin your journey to a better and healthier life.