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Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse

For people to achieve and maintain sobriety after struggling with drug addiction, they need to be motivated within themselves to do so. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come as easy or natural to some as it does to others. That’s where motivational interviewing for substance abuse comes in. 

What is Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse?

Motivational interviewing (MI) for substance abuse is a therapeutic tactic that was created by Dr. William R. Miller and Dr. Stephen Rollnick. It was initially created to help treat alcohol addiction

Now MI helps motivate all types of substance abuse treatment patients to change their destructive behaviors so that they can achieve and maintain sobriety. Motivational interviewing (MI) also helps substance addiction treatment patients to overcome their fear of changing their lives by no longer abusing substances. 

MI is particularly helpful when dealing with people who don’t think their substance abuse issues are as severe as they are or people who just don’t want to give up the euphoric sensations they feel when abusing substances. People that fear experiencing withdrawal symptoms when no longer abusing substances can also benefit from receiving motivational interviewing. 

How Does Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse Work? 

Motivational interviewing for substance abuse works by having a therapist conduct an interview with an addiction treatment patient. In this interview, the therapist works with the patient to help him, or her create addiction recovery goals. In helping the patient create addiction recovery goals for him or herself, the therapist is empowering the patient—that way, the patient is given autonomy over their own addiction recovery journey. 

Helping addiction treatment patients set recovery goals for themselves also gives them things that they feel responsible for achieving within themselves. This, in turn, motivates MI patients to achieve and maintain sobriety. 

Principles of Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse

There are certain key principles that all motivational interviewing therapists follow, especially when conducting MI for substance abuse treatment. These core principles are listed below.

1. Express Empathy Through Reflective Listening 

During motivational interviewing for substance abuse treatment, it’s important that therapists put themselves in the patients’ shoes rather than judging them. That way, the patients feel as if their thoughts and feelings are validated and that they have some control over what will occur to them during the MI process. 

2. Develop Discrepancy Between Client Goals or Values and Their Current Behavior 

This principle of MI focuses on helping addiction treatment patients see the difference between who they are today and who they want to be in the future.

3. Avoid Argument and Direct Confrontation 

To ensure that MI patients always feel some sense of autonomy, MI therapists make sure to avoid any arguments or confrontations with them. 

4. Adjust to Client Resistance Rather Than Opposing It Directly 

When resistance occurs to MI by addiction treatment patients, the MI therapists make sure to hear out what the patients are saying. The MI therapists also make sure to adjust to meet the patients where they are at mentally. 

5. Support Self-Efficacy 

One key principle that MI therapists must follow is working hard to rebuild self-efficacy amongst their patients. That way, addiction treatment patients leave motivational interviewing feeling capable and motivated to achieve and maintain sobriety on their own. 

Objectives of Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse

There are certain key objectives that motivational interviewing therapists make sure to achieve. These MI objectives align with the key principles of motivational interviewing. 

MI objectives are met to ensure that patients leave motivational interviewing feeling motivated to achieve and maintain sobriety on their own. The key objectives to motivational interviewing for substance abuse treatment include the following:

1. Collaboration vs. Confrontation 

 It’s vital that motivational interviewing therapists collaborate with their patients when creating addiction recovery goals for them. That way, the MI patients always feel in control and responsible for their own recovery. Collaborating when creating addiction recovery goals rather than confronting MI patients with information on what they should do also helps create trust between MI therapists and their patients. 

2. Drawing Out vs. Forcing Ideas About Change 

Drawing out ideas out of therapy patients rather than forcing ideas on them is vital during motivational interviewing. This is because it helps bring out the patients’ own motivations and skills for change. 

3. Autonomy vs. Authority 

Ultimately the goal of motivational interviewing is to get the patients motivated enough to follow through on achieving recovery on their own. To achieve this goal, MI therapists must encourage the patients to take the lead when it comes to coming up with their addiction recovery goals. That way, the MI patients are empowered and always feel a sense of responsibility and autonomy when it comes to achieving their addiction recovery goals. 

4. Roll With Resistance 

To ensure that motivational interviewing patients are empowered and decide on their own to achieve sobriety, MI therapists must not react to any resistance that the patients may initially give during therapy. Instead, MI therapists must allow any patient resistance to “roll” off their backs. 

MI therapists must then help their patients work through why they are feeling resistant. Ultimately, this will help motivational interviewing patients come up with their own ideas for change. This, in turn, will make it easier for MI patients to stay motivated to achieve their goals for change. 

Stages of Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse

There are certain stages, or steps, of motivational interviewing that therapists must follow for it to be effective. These stages are described below. 

Stage 1: Engage

Before anything else, it’s important that motivational interviewing therapists make their patients feel as if they are on their side. That way, MI patients feel as if they are working with their therapists to achieve recovery rather than working to achieve recovery for their therapists. To make sure that MI patients trust their therapists, motivational interviewing therapists must engage with their patients. 

Stage 2: Focus

In the next stage of motivational interviewing, MI therapists should help their patients focus in on what their substance abuse issues are. Then MI therapists must help their patients focus in on what their goals are for fixing their substance abuse issues. 

Stage 3: Evoke

During this stage of motivational interviewing, MI therapists must discover their patients’ “why.” By this, we mean the MI patients’ why for changing. Motivational interviewing therapists must then discuss with their patients why their patients’ motivations for changing are what they are. After summarizing and reflecting on why their patients’ motivations for change are what they are, MI therapists must work on increasing the level of motivation behind their patients’ desire to change. 

Stage 4 – Planning 

During the planning stage of motivational interviewing, MI therapists work to build the coping skills and knowledge of their patients. That way, motivational interviewing patients have the ability to achieve and maintain sobriety long-term on their own. 

Motivational Interviewing Techniques

There are certain key therapeutic techniques that all motivational interviewing therapists use. The exact therapeutic techniques that are behind the motivational interviewing process can be described in the acronym O.A.R.S. 

O – The O in the acronym O.A.R.S. stands for asking open-ended questions. This is because open-ended motivational interviewing questions for substance abuse leave room for MI patients to dive into what their motivations for change are and why they are what they are. 

A – A stands for affirmations. Giving affirmations is an important therapeutic technique that MI therapists follow. This is because affirmations give highlights to the strengths of MI patients. This, in turn, will provide MI patients with the positive reinforcement that they need to build on their motivations to change. 

R – R stands for reflecting. This means that motivational interviewing therapists must conduct simple and complex reflections on what their patients have said and implied. That way, MI therapists can provide their patients with input and feedback that can make the MI patients have an even better understanding of why they are motivated to change. MI therapists giving proper reflections on what their patients have said and implied in therapy thus far also helps MI patients feel seen, heard, and understood. 

S – S stands for summarizing. This means that motivational interviewing therapists must compile all of the information that they’ve gathered on their patients and their motivations and present it to the patients themselves. 

By MI therapists summarizing everything that they’ve learned about their patients and presenting this information to the patients themselves, it will hopefully help the MI patients see what exactly they need to do left to change. Seeing all of the information on themselves will also hopefully help strengthen the motivation that MI patients have to change. 

What’s the Best Time to Use Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse Treatment?

Dr. William R. Miller and Dr. Stephen Rollnick originally created motivational interviewing to help treat alcohol addiction. As a result, MI best works when doing so. 

In fact, motivational interviewing has become such a successful alcohol addiction treatment therapeutic tactic that professionals now use it to treat other substance and behavioral addictions. People can even use motivational interviewing to simply increase the frequency that they exhibit positive behaviors. 

What’s the Primary Goal of Motivational Interviewing?

At the end of the day, motivational interviewing’s primary goal is to help individuals overcome any internal battles that keep them questioning whether they want to quit abusing substances or not. Thus, through motivational interviewing, individuals receive the motivation that they need to go on the path towards achieving recovery. Motivational interviewing also helps individuals receive the motivation that they need to maintain sobriety long-term. 

Receive Motivational Interviewing At Florida Center for Recovery

Here at Florida Center for Recovery (FCR), we offer motivational interviewing for substance abuse treatment. Thus, individuals that need motivation to achieve sobriety and maintain it long-term can receive MI therapy at our rehab facility. 

To learn about the other forms of addiction therapy that we offer here at FCR, contact us today. We are here to help you change your life for the better. 

References:

https://pcssnow.org/resource/motivational-interviewing-talking-with-someone-struggling-with-oud/ 

https://climb.pcc.edu/blog/what-is-motivational-interviewing-mi-and-how-does-it-work 

 

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