Motivational Interviewing (MI) Treatment
Motivational Interviewing (MI) can help facilitate change. At AAC, we believe we can help clients achieve success by utilizing MI, a strength-based approach that highlights their ability to change harmful behaviors.
Benefits of Motivational Interviewing (MI) Treatment Modality
For clients seeking addiction treatment at AAC, two of the most common obstacles for individuals are ambivalence/uncertainty and the fear of change. Frequently, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individuals struggling with addiction are usually aware of the dangers of their substance-using behavior but continue to use anyway. These experiences are normal and despite the health risks and consequences of substance use, client feelings of ambivalence arise. This is a natural reaction.
For some clients with substance abuse issues, there is an internal struggle of “wants” — they want to stop using, but at the same time, they don’t want to. For example, at some point in their lives, the use of drugs provided benefits (i.e. self-medication, fun, partying, etc.) that they don’t want to lose. At other points in their lives, their pattern of drug use was harmful and led to negative and often illegal consequences (i.e. relationships, job, DUI, etc.).
Uncertainty about the severity of their substance use may be related to the client’s motivation to change. Entering treatment programs, many individuals claim their substance use is “not all that serious”, despite medical problems, inability to remain employed, etc. Individuals experience these natural disparate feelings regardless of their state of readiness. Ambivalence should not be interpreted as denial or resistance and utilizing MI can facilitate exploration of stage-specific motivational conflicts that can potentially hinder further progress.
AAC takes the clinical stance adopted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services/SAMHSA:
Motivation is not static. It is a dynamic, intentional, purposeful, and positive — directed concept toward the best interests of the self.
Specifically, motivation is related to the probability that a person will enter into, continue, and adhere to a specific change strategy. Substance abuse treatment staff can influence changes by developing a therapeutic relationship that respects and builds on the client’s autonomy and, at the same time, makes the treatment clinician a partner in the change process.
Using MI techniques places greater responsibility on the clinician, whose job is now expanded to include engendering motivation. In an addiction treatment setting, instead of dismissing the more challenging clients as unmotivated, clinicians are equipped with the skills to enhance the client’s motivation and establish partnerships with their clients.
MI Treatment Research-Supported Benefits:
- Increased treatment program retention rates
- Increased treatment program participation rates
- Increased probability of successful treatment outcomes
- Higher treatment post-program abstinence rates
Upon admission, the staff at AAC strives to encourage all clients to reflect on where they are and how their behavior is not working for them, and to begin to identify their own individual strategies for change — then the important task of goal setting and steps towards recovery can begin.
In treating individuals struggling with addiction, studies indicate that drug addiction treatment does not have to be voluntary in order to be effective. While clients may enter treatment involuntarily, MI has shown to be effective in treating their addiction. By using MI treatment, we’re able to embrace the spirit of MI, which is about “meeting the client where the client is,” which can help nudge a client towards change by utilizing motivation enhancing techniques. In the later stages of change, MI can help the client realize that the costs of their substance addiction have begun to outweigh any perceived benefits.