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How Does Motivational Interviewing Help Treat Addiction?

Substance use disorder (SUD) can feel difficult to overcome. After the pink cloud of early sobriety passes, it can feel like nothing is keeping you going. Rather than letting this halt your progress, your treatment center can use motivational interviewing to help you. Motivational interviewing is a process that coincides with the stages of change.

Stages of Change

In 1977, James O. Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente led the development of the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM). Their model includes the stages of change, an important concept that informs the practice of motivational interviewing. The TTM consists of five stages of change.

During precontemplation, you aren’t interested in getting help or changing. You do not see a problem. In contemplation, you weigh the benefits and downsides of making a change. You see the problem but don’t believe that change is worth it. With the preparation stage, you’ve admitted the problem and decided to change. You might feel ambivalence, though, as you attempt the figure out how to change. (Ambivalence is the state of holding two conflicting feelings about a behavior.) As you enter the action stage, you are committed to changing and taking active steps.

Unfortunately, if the ambivalence hasn’t been resolved, action will prove difficult, if not entirely ineffective. The preparation and action stages are the places where motivational interviewing is most effective. Then, hopefully, you will eventually move into the maintenance stage.

The Basis for Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a core tenet of SUD treatment. It centers on talk therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). As previously mentioned, it also works in conjunction with the stages of change. The approach is client-centered. You’ll receive compassion when it comes to your beliefs, experiences, and values.

The therapist’s nonjudgmental approach allows you to develop a trusting relationship. They’ll see you as an equal partner in the therapeutic process. You’re the expert in your life, and they understand that. Empathy and self-efficacy empower you in the process. Motivational interviewing functions on the belief that you internally possess the resources needed to change.

Looking at the Process

Your therapist will ask open-ended questions to help you find your internal motivators. Moreover, through conversation, you’ll also find ambivalence toward long-term recovery. Identifying motivations and ambivalence are crucial to the process. After identifying these elements, your therapist will help you work through your barriers. They’ll ask you questions for introspection. As you reframe your obstacles, you’ll find yourself feeling stronger in your motivations.

When you’re struggling with addiction, it can feel hard to change. Motivational interviewing is an effective treatment option that works off the five stages of change. Your therapist will help you identify your motivations for change and any ambivalence that creates barriers. At The Guest House, we incorporate techniques like motivational interviewing in our individual therapy. We understand that treatment isn’t one size fits all. In addition to traditional therapy, you can participate in experiential therapies. With a holistic approach to treatment, you’ll be on the road to recovery. For help, call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800.