Making significant changes in your life, such as abstaining from a substance, takes courage and commitment. When someone enters treatment, they may still have some lingering doubts about living a life of sobriety. When this is the case, motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is an effective intervention.
MET can help you address your ambivalence about treatment and recovery. By helping you identify the issues that might be holding you back from being fully committed, MET can help you clear that barrier. Continue reading to learn all about this effective evidence-based treatment method.
What is MET?
MET is a psychotherapy approach that helps you overcome any lingering resistance to making the behavioral changes necessary in recovery. During an initial interview, the therapist may identify this apprehension and will work with you toward closing the gap between seeking treatment because you should, and seeking treatment because you truly want to change your life.
The MET techniques involve two to four counseling sessions during which the therapist allows you to discuss any feelings you have about moving forward with treatment. This process allows you to work through any doubts or reservations you might still have about treatment and recovery. MET can be considered a pre-treatment, followed by other psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
During the MET sessions, the therapist will utilize a nonconfrontational and nonjudgmental approach. Their goal is to guide you toward a better understanding of the possibilities that result from treatment and then helping to evoke internally motivated change.
The 5 Motivational Principles of MET
MET is guided by five treatment goals and principles. These include:
- Develop and Express Empathy. The MET therapist helps you develop a sense of empathy toward others so you can better understand how your actions affect them. This can become a motivational factor for change in recovery.
- Identify Disparate Feelings About Treatment. The therapist can help you see that, even though you might feel ready for treatment, something may still be holding you back from making the necessary changes.
- Avoid Arguments. MET is a reflective listening therapy, where the therapist listens to the individual and then restates what they heard. Therapists do not engage in arguments with you. They allow you to come to any conclusions on your own.
- Accepting Resistance. Instead of confronting you and causing you to become defensive, the MET therapist will accept your initial resistance to treatment. Throughout the sessions, the therapist will hope you realize your attitudes and behaviors are blocking progress in recovery.
- Acknowledge Self-Efficacy. The therapist will help you arrive at a place where you believe in your ability to achieve treatment goals. Once you truly accept that you can make the needed changes, you can push through that barrier.
MET is based on a behaviorist model of reward to enact behavioral change. This type of therapy is client-centered and respectful of the client’s views, versus trying to force change through criticism. This positive client-therapist dynamic inspires people to make the needed changes that will help them move forward in recovery using a technique known as motivational interviewing.
Benefits of MET
MET has been shown to be useful in helping individuals address ambivalence at the outset of treatment. Some of the benefits of MET include:
- It is a short-term therapy that can start treatment off on solid footing and lead to a higher level of program completion and success.
- It improves client readiness for engaging in treatment activities by building confidence and commitment to change.
- It can also help with co-occurring mental health issues, such as OCD, PTSD, bipolar disorder and eating disorders.
MET is an effective short-term therapy that can prepare you for subsequent therapeutic activities in treatment, such as CBT or DBT. MET engages you where you are, and guides you toward adopting a positive attitude toward treatment and recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, and provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.