What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy?

By: Marie Miguel

Updated February 23, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

There are a plethora of addiction therapies available to individuals. Some are more well known than others, which could be a disadvantage for those who could benefit from the therapy, but don't know about it. Finding a practitioner or program that is familiar with the different therapies is the first step. Making people aware of therapies that may help them must be widely communicated. Motivational Enhancement Therapy (EMT) is one of those addiction therapies.

Addiction

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Helps A Person Face Their Toxic Behavior
Learn to Stay Motivated Now With An Online Therapist.
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Addiction is often only thought to be related to drugs or alcohol. It is also thought by some to be a "moral" or "willpower" issue; that it is something people do and can just stop it if they try hard. This is not the case. It is a brain disease, which is classified by obsessive use of and dependence on a substance, thing or activity. Many times this continues in spite of damaging outcomes. Addiction is also known as a severe substance use disorder (source: www.psychiatry.org) and often takes over the addicted individual's life.

There is proof that substance abuse alters the wiring of the brain and, therefore, affects ways of thinking, making choices, gaining knowledge, recollection, and management of performance. As these addicted individuals continue to abuse their substance of choice, they need more and more of the substance to feel the same results. One of the reasons that many individuals get involved with substance abuse is that it makes them feel good and perform better. Unfortunately, those temporary good feelings can lead to permanent problems.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

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As the name of this therapy states, it's all about motivating the individual to face their damaging behavior and change those behaviors. Many times people who have a substance abuse disorder do not want to change or are not able to change those behaviors even though they know the behaviors negatively impact their lives and the lives of those around them. In MET, the individual works with a therapist who is specifically trained in this therapy and they concentrate on enhancing the individual's enthusiasm to change the damaging behaviors.

The therapist who is trained in MET tries to give the power back to the individual and have them look at their behaviors without bias so that they can embark on the route to transformation. This is also a type of therapy that can be used in conjunction with other therapies or as a pretreatment to get individuals prepared to engage in other therapies. If an individual isn't ready to start a new therapy, it will be a waste of time so the pretreatment as a first step can be extremely important and helpful.

Motivational Interviewing

MET started with a clinical tryout in 1993. It is based on the tenets of motivational psychology and includes methods connected to Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing is much more useful for those who are initially not motivated or not ready to change. It has not been shown to be useful to those who already show a motivation to change. It also helps those who are enraged or aggressive.

Source: nishanfoundation.com The initial step is to intensify the individual's motivation through talk therapy, which focuses on what the individual sees as their issues and why they need to change their behaviors. The therapist then mirrors back what the individual has stated. This step is usually for short-term, perhaps only one or two appointments. The hope is that the when the individual hears themselves speak about the negative behaviors and need for change out loud, it will help them to commit to the process of getting better.

The therapist is more of a listener and supports the individual in their initial steps into getting better. Other interventions that may follow or occur simultaneously with Motivational Interviewing are cognitive therapy, support groups (i.e., Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) or stress management methods.

Goals Of MET

*To raise inherent motivation by increasing consciousness of the difficulty

*To regulate any overwhelming thoughts about the difficulty

* To encourage self-assurance that change can occur

*To encourage individuals to make positive declarations about the awareness of the difficulty and a decision to make a change

5 Motivational Standards

MET is built on five motivational standards that are devised to lead the therapist in their efforts with the individual who is in therapy.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Helps A Person Face Their Toxic Behavior
Learn to Stay Motivated Now With An Online Therapist.
Source: rawpixel.com

As the name of this therapy states, it's all about motivating the individual to face their damaging behavior and change those behaviors. Many times people who have a substance abuse disorder do not want to change or are not able to change those behaviors even though they know the behaviors negatively impact their lives and the lives of those around them. In MET, the individual works with a therapist who is specifically trained in this therapy and they concentrate on enhancing the individual's enthusiasm to change the damaging behaviors.

The therapist who is trained in MET tries to give the power back to the individual and have them look at their behaviors without bias so that they can embark on the route to transformation. This is also a type of therapy that can be used in conjunction with other therapies or as a pretreatment to get individuals prepared to engage in other therapies. If an individual isn't ready to start a new therapy, it will be a waste of time so the pretreatment as a first step can be extremely important and helpful.

Motivational Interviewing

MET started with a clinical tryout in 1993. It is based on the tenets of motivational psychology and includes methods connected to Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing is much more useful for those who are initially not motivated or not ready to change. It has not been shown to be useful to those who already show a motivation to change. It also helps those who are enraged or aggressive.

Source: nishanfoundation.com The initial step is to intensify the individual's motivation through talk therapy, which focuses on what the individual sees as their issues and why they need to change their behaviors. The therapist then mirrors back what the individual has stated. This step is usually for short-term, perhaps only one or two appointments. The hope is that the when the individual hears themselves speak about the negative behaviors and need for change out loud, it will help them to commit to the process of getting better.

The therapist is more of a listener and supports the individual in their initial steps into getting better. Other interventions that may follow or occur simultaneously with Motivational Interviewing are cognitive therapy, support groups (i.e., Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) or stress management methods.

Goals Of MET

*To raise inherent motivation by increasing consciousness of the difficulty

*To regulate any overwhelming thoughts about the difficulty

* To encourage self-assurance that change can occur

*To encourage individuals to make positive declarations about the awareness of the difficulty and a decision to make a change

5 Motivational Standards

MET is built on five motivational standards that are devised to lead the therapist in their efforts with the individual who is in therapy.


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Typical MET Protocol

After a preliminary evaluation, MET encompasses four directed treatment meetings. Treatment is individualized to the specific needs of the person being treated. Earlier meetings are about talking through issues (individual), listening (therapist) without judgment and goal setting. Later meetings focus on strengthening self-esteem and self-care. The goal of MET is to motivate the individual to want to make a change.

In the preliminary evaluation, comparable questions are asked:

*How frequently do you consume alcohol or abuse substances?

*When did your consumption or abuse begin?

*What issues have you faced due to overconsumption or abuse of substances?

*Do you have a family, a partner or friends who abuse or over consume?

*What are your aspirations?

*What is most important in your daily existence?

*What changes would you make if you could change anything in your life?

There is no judgment or challenge to any of these responses. The therapist is there is listen and reflect.

Who Can Benefit from MET?

As stated in this post, MET has been proven beneficial to individuals with a substance abuse disorder. It has been shown to also be helpful in the management of anxiety, eating disorders and gambling addiction. Another group that has shown promise with this treatment are young people who may be going through personality issues or trying to establish their autonomy.

Many times individuals with addiction issues also have other mental health disorders because of the chemical imbalances that affect the wiring of the brain. Some mental health disorders that occur with addiction are an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder and eating disorders. (Source: http://www.addictioncenter.com)

If you feel that you need assistance with a substance abuse disorder, you should contact a trained professional to assist you. Going to BetterHelp (https://www.betterhelp.com/start/) can be your first step to getting the help you need. It is private, convenient and will be one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your wellness. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.


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