Motivational Interviewing is an evidence-based therapy that works to combat the natural ambivalence that goes hand in hand with dealing with the fear of change and growth.

Oftentimes, for example, someone who is dependent on substances will enter into treatment with the best intentions, knowing the devastating effects of the substance that is being abused, but wanting to use the substance anyway. This goes beyond physical effects.

You might know that your alcohol abuse is keeping you from a personal goal, or wreaking havoc in your relationships, but you may find yourself insisting that your problem isn’t that big of a deal. Or you might hear yourself using the classic phrase, “I can stop any time I want to.”

Motivational Interviewing helps your therapist connect with you and show you that you are supported. It is a style of intervention that clarifies the empathy your therapist has for your situation and that your inward argument is not being minimized as denial or resistance.

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Motivational Interviewing helps you and your therapist recognize, as a team, your ambivalence for what it is and allows you to explore the origins of that ambivalence together. This exploration provides a foundation for you to begin the process of change and healing.

How Does Motivational Interviewing Work?

Motivational Interviewing is based on a spirit of collaboration. When you participate in this type of therapy, your therapist will engage with you in an empathetic manner in the discussion of your situation, help you realize that change is possible, identify with you where your ambivalence is coming from, and help you identify your personal goals and the journey and work it is going to take to reach them.

Motivational Interviewing is approached with three elements in mind:

  1. Collaboration is about you and your therapist working together as a team built on trust and understanding of your unique experiences and perspective.
  2. Evoking is the style in which you and your therapist will converse. You will have the space to offer your own thoughts and ideas rather than having your therapist tell you what is right or wrong.
  3. Finally, Motivational Interviewing stresses your autonomy, as opposed to the idea of your therapist being the authority figure.

Motivational Interviewing was first designed as an intervention therapy in the treatment of alcoholism, but has since been used for a broader range of substance abuse. It has also been found effective for treating a variety of mental health disorder, including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.

What Is the Evidence Behind Motivational Interviewing?

Research has shown Motivational Interviewing to be highly effective, particularly in the treatment of drug addiction and alcohol abuse.

In a clinical trial published by the National Institutes of Health, patients who received Motivational Interviewing had substantially higher abstinence rates. In another study of patients whose substance abuse was co-morbid with other mental illnesses, the integration of Motivational Interviewing as an intervention technique showed notable reduction in substance use in these patients up to a year after the treatments ended.

Motivational Interviewing at Clearview Treatment Programs

At Clearview, our trained Motivational Interviewing therapists can help you to effectively tackle the ambivalence that is keeping you from making a complete recovery from your substance abuse or mental health disorder. When appropriate, throughout our residential, day, and outpatient treatment programs, you will participate in Motivational Interviewing as part of your individualized treatment plan.

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