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What is Motivational Interviewing Therapy?

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Are you looking for an answer to what is motivational interviewing therapy? Millions of people worldwide are struggling with addictions. As per an observation by the United Nations, 35 million people in the world are suffering from disorders related to drug abuse. It is even more shocking that only 1 out of 7 people agree to seek help. Such a low ratio is because people who are addicts develop resistance to getting treatment. They do not want to quit their addictions or make a change in their behavior.

In such cases, motivational interviewing therapy is used. You must be wondering what is motivational interviewing therapy is. Motivational Interviewing therapy is a counseling technique. This technique is utilized for people who are stuck in addictions and problematic behavior that stems from addictions.

Now that you have got a brief introduction to what is motivational interviewing therapy, let us dive into this topic in detail.

In this blog, we will discuss what is motivational interviewing therapy, its principles, goals, and techniques.

Understanding What Is Motivational Interviewing Therapy

The approach of motivational interviewing therapy is adapted to help people in making a change in their behavior. This approach is particularly helpful for those patients who are hesitant to decide whether they want to change their behavior.

The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing

Now that you have understood what is motivational interviewing therapy, let us understand its spirit. William Miller and Stephen Rollnick developed this technique. They insisted that to ensure that the motivational interviewing therapy is successful, the therapist must ensure that they maintain the spirit of these sessions.

Collaboration Instead of Confrontation

In a successful session of motivational interviewing therapy, the therapist and the patient must work in collaboration or a partnership. The therapist encourages the patient to talk about their experiences instead of confronting them about their addictions.

Evocation Rather Than Education

The primary objective of motivational interviewing is to understand the patient’s ideas on how they want to conquer their addictions. The therapist does not impose their knowledge or their ideas on how to quit addictions. The therapist firmly believes that motivation should be internal and not forced on anyone else. 

Autonomy Over Authority

In other methods of therapy, the therapist is considered an authoritative figure during the therapy sessions. However, during motivational interviewing, this is not the case.

The patient is empowered with autonomy in their decision to quit and the recovery process. It is no secret that any change is initiated from within. Motivational interviewing therapy encourages the initiation of change from the patient.

By now, we believe that you have understood the idea of what is motivational interviewing therapy. Let us now discuss what is motivational interviewing therapy in psychology.

What is Motivational Interviewing Therapy in Psychology?

If you are wondering what is motivational interviewing therapy in psychology, then we have got you covered.

Although motivational interviewing therapy strongly advocates the process of change coming from the patient, it also follows the 5 principles of psychology as discussed below:

  • Reciprocity: The patient and the therapist must reciprocate in making an effort to help the patient quit his addiction. 
  • Consistency: The therapist must be consistently patient throughout the therapy sessions. 
  • Engagement: Therapy is a two-way process. The patient and the therapist should engage in conversations that motivate the patient to change for the better. 
  • Acceptance: Therapy should be a safe space for the patient and the therapist should accept that the patients must set their own pace for their recovery. 
  • Motivation: Motivational enhancement therapy is a concept that believes that the desire to change for the better should come from within and not from an external force.

Motivational interviewing therapy is exceptionally helpful in cases where the patient is unsure whether they want to quit their addictions or not. In some cases, the patient does not want to change their behavior or quit their addictions because they seek temporary comfort from alcohol and substances when they face their triggers.

A successful motivational interviewing therapy session will make the patient aware of their shortcomings. The therapist deeply assesses the patient and their past. This assessment is done to understand the patient’s triggers that lead them to addictions.

The patient is made aware of the impact their addictions have on their near and dear ones. The therapist shows the patient how their life will change for the better once they quit their addictions.

This encourages the patient to aspire towards giving up their addictions. They become readily available to join programs that help them to do the same.

What is Motivational Interviewing Therapy in Counseling?

Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique used on patients to grow their motivation to change. The therapist applies the principles of counseling to ensure that this growth or enhancement takes place.

The therapist follows the person-centered approach of Carl Rogers in motivational therapy sessions. In an efficient motivational therapy session, the therapist will stick to the following principles of psychology:

  • The needs of the patient are more important than the goals of the therapist. 
  • The patient naturally starts accepting the process of change. The role of the therapist is limited to facilitating the same. 
  • The patients have autonomy over decisions in their lives. 
  • The therapist does not force change on the patient. 
  • The therapist helps the client in unlocking their strengths and their willpower. 
  • The therapist understands the patient’s history of abuse and the perspective that stems out of their history.

What is motivational interviewing therapy used for?

Now that you have understood the power of motivational interviewing therapy, you must be wondering what is motivational interviewing therapy used for.

Motivational interviewing therapy was initially used for treating disorders related to alcoholism and substance abuse. This was facilitated by enabling the patients to change their behavior which led to alcoholism and substance abuse.

However, motivational interviewing therapy is also useful in treating many other disorders apart from alcoholism and substance abuse disorders.

  • Smoking: Motivational interviewing therapy helps address smoking and nicotine addiction. More often than not, it is found that smokers resort to smoking to tackle their anxiety or boredom. Motivational interviewing can help smokers tackle their habit and initiate change to quit smoking. 
  • Eating disorders: Motivational interviewing helps tackle eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating, etc. The therapist helps the patient in addressing the triggers that lead them to such disorders. 
  • Behaviors among children: Sometimes, children develop behavioral problems due to various triggers. Motivational interviewing therapy helps to address these problems in children in a gentle way through the principles of counseling and positive psychology.

Motivational interviewing therapy is often used with other treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medications for disorders like Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, etc.

What are the techniques used in motivational interviewing therapy?

Now that we have established what is motivational interviewing therapy and its effectiveness in treating various disorders, it is crucial to discuss the techniques that are used in motivational interviewing therapy.

The primary objective of the therapist is to let the patient explore their own goals and find their motivations while doing so.

Asking Open-Ended Questions

The therapist asks the patient thought-provoking questions. These questions cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The patient can only find answers to these questions while they think thoroughly.

As a result, the patient ends up learning more about themselves. This process helps the patient in finding the motivation to incorporate changes in their behavior that might lead to their alcoholism or substance abuse. 

Positive Affirmations

The therapist works towards acknowledging the strengths of the patient. This instills positive behavior in the patient.

Affirmations are powerful techniques that help the patient recognize their true strength and their ability to change. Affirmations empower the patient with the confidence in the belief that change is possible and they can turn their life around for the better.

Attentive Listening

For a successful session of motivational interviewing therapy to take place, the therapist listens to the patient attentively. This builds trust between the patient and the therapist.

With attentive listening, the patient becomes more confident and trusting of the process of therapy. Attentive listening also creates opportunities for the patient to express their feelings without hesitations.

Benefits of Motivational Interviewing

In today’s day and age, patients ask therapists about the benefits of motivational interviewing therapy before questioning what is motivational interviewing therapy.

Motivational interviewing therapy offers several benefits including (but not limited to):

  • Instilling self-confidence in the patient 
  • Empowering the patient with the ability to be responsible for their lives 
  • Ruling out the chances of relapse back into alcoholism or substance abuse in future 
  • Teaching the clients empathy and making them understand the repercussions of their actions 
  • Empowering the client with self-sufficiency when it comes to tackling the triggers that lead them to alcoholism or substance abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the 5 principles of motivational interviewing therapy?

The 5 pillars of motivational interviewing therapy are autonomy, acceptance, evocation, empathy, and adaptation.

2. What is the goal of motivational interviewing therapy?

The primary goal of motivational interviewing therapy is to instill a desire for change in the patient.

3. Why is motivational interviewing therapy called so?

Motivational interviewing therapy is called so because the primary objective of this type of therapy is to motivate the patient to change the problematic behaviors that lead them to alcoholism and substance abuse.

4. What is motivational interviewing therapy used for?

Motivational interviewing therapy is a type of therapy that is used for patients struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse disorders. This type of therapy aims at invoking a desire to change within the patient.

5. How is motivational interviewing therapy different from other types of therapy?

In motivational interviewing therapy, the therapist lets the patients choose their own pace for recovery whereas in other types of therapy, patients have little autonomy in their choices.

Conclusion

Motivational interviewing therapy is exceptionally helpful in motivating the patient to bring changes in their behavior. These changes are often incorporated to quit alcoholism and substance abuse.

By now, we are confident that you have not only understood what is motivational interviewing therapy but have a fair idea about its principles, its goals and objectives, and the techniques utilized in this therapy.

Since motivational interviewing therapy adopts a person-centered approach throughout, there are fewer chances of future relapse after this therapy.

Therapies are better done when a team of experts trust you and put all their efforts into making you comfortable and get out of any trauma you have suffering from. A better understanding of motivational interviewing therapy, improved everyday functioning, a decreased chance of relapse, the development of useful coping mechanisms, improved interpersonal communication, and a safe and nurturing environment are just a few advantages of enrolling in a specialized facility like Avisa Recovery.

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