What Is Motivational Interviewing in Treatment?
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There are various types of therapies within treatment for addiction, or modalities, used for the best results possible. One modality that is very helpful with substance use disorder is motivational interviewing. What is motivational interviewing in treatment?

The Basics of Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is used to help patients find their own motivation for change. In this therapeutic method, therapy is not a session with a therapist but rather a collaboration between two people. The therapist merely guides the patient with questions while the patient finds their own answers and makes their own decisions.

This process is particularly helpful when patients are unsure or have mixed feelings about making changes, have low desire or confidence in their ability to change, and the advantages and disadvantages of making changes are unclear. Having the therapist ask questions helps the patient to resolve these questions and establish decisions and motivations for change.

Why Motivational Interviewing Is Different

In other forms of talk therapy, the patient talks to the therapist, who is often perceived as someone with the answers to help with problems. The goal in other forms of therapy is to find healing. In motivational interviewing, the therapist is more of a partner who merely asks questions, so the patient finds their own answers. The goal of motivational interviewing is to motivate change. Much like making a list of pros and cons about a situation or decision, the therapist is like a piece of paper for the patient to write down their thoughts and weigh out their own decisions to make changes.

The concept that people have the needed resources and skills within themselves to find and make change is different from most therapeutic approaches. The therapist is merely a sounding board to collect information about the patient’s values, priorities, and wisdom so that they themselves can see what changes they want to make and find their own motivation to do so.

Collaboration, Acceptance, and Compassion

Motivational interviewing is often well-received by patients who are resistant to treatment or therapy for addiction. As the therapeutic model is founded on collaboration, acceptance, and compassion, patients react differently from a traditional client-therapist model based on problem-solving or healing. Feeling in control of their own treatment and decision-making can help those who have experienced trauma and perhaps feel helpless or do not have control over their lives.

Acceptance is another key component of motivational interviewing. Patients may feel judged or under a microscope in a typical therapeutic setting, but when they are empowered to find their own answers and make their own choices and changes, they feel acceptance instead. Interviewing rather than offering advice or therapy can be a more compassionate experience for patients. Patients feel more human, less like someone who is unhealthy.

Becoming Your Own Source of Motivation

When someone asks you to change, you are likely to lack the motivation to do it. Finding the motivation to make changes that you may want for yourself can be difficult enough, especially if you are not entirely sure if you really want to change. With motivational interviewing, you are asked the questions that allow you to realize what changes you really do want to make.

One of the most difficult aspects of recovery is finding the motivation to heal from substance abuse and change your life. Addiction has many negative effects on your life, but it is also what you know and where you are, so it is not easy to just walk away. With motivational interviewing, you can weigh out all of the pros and cons and talk through the consequences of all of the choices so that you can be truly motivated by your own decision. When you choose to make a change, you are far more likely to be motivated and stay motivated than if someone else is telling you to make a change.

Empowering You to Create Your Own Solutions

Motivational interviewing is about finding the motivation within yourself to make the changes you want in your life. Motivational interviewing not only helps you to find the motivation to change but also empowers you to create your own solutions. For example, you decide that you want to be sober. Now you need to find and choose a facility. 

There are so many facilities to choose from; you need to find the one that is right for you. You can be empowered to make all of the decisions surrounding your treatment, finding solutions for anything that might come up as you are making the changes you have chosen to make. 

What is motivational interviewing in treatment? This therapeutic method lets you collaborate to find your own answers and motivation to make a change in your life. Rather than have someone solve your problems or tell you what to do, you are simply asked questions to find out what it is that you really want and what you are truly motivated to change. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women uses motivational interviewing to help you choose your own path to change. Our residential facility provides treatment for both addiction and co-occurring mental health diagnoses. Located in Costa Mesa, California, between the calming mountains and soothing beaches, our facility is a peaceful refuge for healing. Our trauma-informed care offers you safety and collaboration in your healing process. Contact us today at (714) 581-3974 to learn more about finding the motivation for change in your life.