Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)?

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is a short-term counseling method aimed at helping people unsure about or unwilling to commit to treatment for their substance use issues. MET usually happens during the first check-up when someone starts their treatment program.

This helps the treatment team learn what the person needs and how ready they are to change, lasting from four to six sessions. MET uses a client-centered counseling style, with listening that reflects to help overcome mixed feelings and set targets for recovery.

Dr. William R. Miller was a key figure in creating motivational interviewing (MI) and motivational enhancement therapy for patients who were hesitant to change. Dr. Miller found that arguing and forcing people made them defensive and less willing to start treatment.

Together with Stephen Rollnick, he collaborated on the creation of the “Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual: A Comprehensive Guide for Therapists Working with Individuals Dealing with Alcohol Misuse and Addiction.” He collaborated with Stephen Rollnick to author the “Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual: A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals Battling with Alcohol Addiction and Dependence.” This guide assists other therapists.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Substance Abuse

Many people who misuse alcohol and drugs start treatment because others push them or they face legal troubles, not because they want to change themselves. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) helps them find their own reasons to stick with all five stages of change and become eager and active in their recovery journey.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services evaluated MET as one of three techniques in Project MATCH. This was a meticulously planned study to see how well different treatments for substance abuse worked. The study also looked at 12-step facilitation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Project MATCH found that all three methods were about equally successful. However, MET has become the go-to first step in getting people ready to join other addiction treatment therapies.

motivational enhancement therapy fundamentals

What Are the Five Fundamental Principles of MET?

The five key ideas of MET are showing understanding, creating a sense of difference, staying away from arguing, going along with resistance, and boosting belief in oneself.

A lot of people doubt and resist changing how they act. Using the five main ideas of MET helps get past mixed feelings and builds confidence and the drive to change in patients.

Below is a detailed look at each MET principle:

1. Express Empathy

Therapists listen carefully and thoughtfully to truly understand and show genuine empathy for the person and their point of view. This helps create a trustful and honest connection. Most times, a helpful counseling approach may be to ask partners or family members to join a session. This can help the client see how their addiction impacts the lives of their loved ones, which can encourage them to want to change.

2. Develop Discrepancy

Many people notice differences between the person they want to be and how they act. Therapists use open questions that lead the way to help people see the space between what they want and what is real. This wake-up call often makes people want to commit to change entirely.

3. Avoid Arguments

Therapists don’t argue with people about the severity or magnitude of the impact of their addiction. Instead, they use kind words and listen in a way that reflects back to raise awareness and guide attention to the need for change. People are more likely to want to change on their own when they feel understood and accepted as they are, not pushed or criticized.

4. Roll with Resistance

Expecting resistance is a normal part of the process. Therapists who go with the flow of resistance will listen empathetically and use encouraging statements and questions to overcome the person’s doubts and hesitations. Discussing things calmly and sensibly helps people better understand how to reach their goals, even with uncertainties.

5. Support Self-Efficacy

People need to believe they can change and grow in their own way. Therapists help by strengthening and supporting self-belief, self-choice, and motivation. They do this with positive encouragement, inspiring statements, and words that affirm the person’s worth and ability.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Examples

Motivational enhancement therapy is about staying non-judgmental and sensible while looking into the patient’s views and doubts about change and addiction treatment. One way to do this is through reflective listening. This means repeating the client’s words and worries as a question, a “what if” situation, or a motivating statement. This helps them develop their own answers and ways to solve things.

Some examples of questions and methods used in MET:

  • “How do you think things might change if you stopped using?”
  • “Do you feel that your substance use has made you miss out on chances?”
  • “Where do you see yourself in a year? How do you think you’ll get there?”
  • “What do you think will happen if you keep up your current habits?”
  • “What’s the harm in trying something new?”
  • “What goals do you want to achieve once you finish treatment?”
  • “You could be right about ___, but what if you’re not? Are you open to looking at other views?”
  • “I think you’re selling yourself short.”
  • “When you say __, it sounds like you’re being too hard on yourself.”
  • “I believe in you; I hope you can believe in yourself too.”
motivational enhancement therapy goal

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Goal

Motivational enhancement therapy aims to eliminate doubts and uncertainties about treatment. It does this by making people more aware of the problem and resolving ambivalence— inspiring them to want to change and commit to it.

Benefits of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration views (SAMHSA) motivational enhancement therapy as a treatment improvement protocol (TIP). This is because of its many benefits and the ease of use during the first treatment sessions.

Motivational enhancement therapy offers several benefits, such as:

  • Versatility: MET encourages change in different types of substance use disorders and health issues.
  • Speed: MET achieves its goals in just a few treatment sessions.
  • Complementary: MET works well with other 12-step programs and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatments.
  • Easy to Use: Many professionals, like doctors, peer counselors, and addiction experts, can use MET.
  • Internal Strength: MET uses the client’s motivation and inner strengths to help them become internally motivated to bring about change.
  • Choice and Commitment: MET focuses on the client’s decisions, readiness, and dedication to change.

MET is helpful for anyone, no matter where they are, in accepting their substance use disorder. This includes people who have lost motivation or started to doubt during treatment.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment

When you or someone close to you struggles with substance use and has concerns or questions, remember you’re not alone. Lots of people hesitate to get help for their addiction for various reasons.

Northridge Addiction Treatment Center is a compassionate sanctuary for healing substance abuse and mental health disorders. NATC provides a team of caring professionals who understand that change can feel daunting. They take the time to listen to your worries and create a treatment plan tailored just for you.

Our cozy and private residential treatment center gives you a peaceful and secure setting where you can gain confidence in your recovery journey. We rely on proven therapies to address the root causes of addiction and teach new, healthy ways to cope and communicate, setting you up for success in the future.

Our empathetic specialists are ready to support you as you begin a new chapter in life focused on recovery. Contact us today to get started.

Find Meaningful Recovery

Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.

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