Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is referred to as a directive, person-centered approach therapy that aims at improving and increasing an individual’s motivation to overcome addiction. MET is a counseling approach that could help an individual in resolving his doubt and ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stop using a drug. This approach aims to evoke rapid and internally motivated change rather than guiding a patient in a stepwise manner in the recovery process. MET was one of the three studies and inventions tested in Project MATCH, a 1993 clinical trial program for those experiencing alcohol addiction. It was an initiative of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
MET is based on the vital principle of motivational psychology and engages techniques associated with Motivational Interviewing. The styles and techniques used for Motivational Interviewing are incorporated in a structured approach which provides a thorough assessment of an individual’s behavior, as well as systematic feedback approach. The NIAAA offers all the detailed guidelines for MET.
MET and Addiction Treatment Program
When an individual goes for a drug rehab center, he is appropriately evaluated, and his treatment needs are determined. All the vital signs are monitored by the team of physicians and also the body’s changes during withdrawal. MET therapists help the patients in evaluating the changes in their thoughts and behaviors related to drug use.
This therapy also helps treat co-occurring mental disorders. These mental health issues are common in addicted people that are occurred due to imbalanced brain chemistry. It helps treat addiction and co-occurring disorders simultaneously to prevent any future relapse.
There are some of the co-occurring situations MET treatment includes:
• Post-traumatic stress disorders
• Obsessive-compulsive disorders
• Bipolar disorders
• Eating disorders
MET Goals and Principles
The primary goal of MET is to help overcome an individual’s ambivalence or resistance to behavioral change. Its primary focus is on increasing intrinsic and inherent motivation by raising awareness of a problem, help in any self-defeating thoughts, and increasing the confidence in one’s ability to change. This therapy encourages a person to make self-motivating statements to help him display a clear understanding of the problem and a resolve to change. MET could be used as a stand-alone treatment. This type of approach could serve as a form of pretreatment that could increase an individual’s motivation to help him start a more specific form of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy.
MET is generally based on five motivational principles those are structured to guide the therapist work with an individual in this therapy:
• Express Empathy- Before starting, therapists create a more supportive environment to help an individual to feel accepted and respected. Initially, a therapist will listen to an individual what he is saying and then reflect it with slightly deliberate modifications.
• Develop discrepancy- MET therapist takes care of any difference between an individual’s desired state of being and an actual state of being. This helps them recognize the ways why an individual is not able to achieve his goal.
• Avoid argumentation- In this therapy, a therapist avoids attacking an individual as this could result in defensiveness and resistance. In addition to it, other methods are also used to raise awareness of the problem.
• Roll with resistance- During this process, a therapist does not confront an individual directly instead tries to defuse if any resistance occurred. This is done often by reflective listening and going along with an individual’s saying.
• Support self-efficacy- One common aspect of a therapist’s role always remains to help an individual to be aware of his ability to successfully undertake the actions needed for change. The motivation not only depends on the reasons for modifying behavior but also on that individual’s belief.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy Session
MET is usually consisted of about four sessions. It is preceded by an initial assessment that collects information on behaviors related to the presenting problem. In the first analysis, the therapist will provide structured feedback based on the evaluation done. This assessment allows an individual to see how his behavior is different from the wider population. In addition to it, short-term and long-term goals are also made based on an individual’s need. MET is referred to as both non-confrontational and non-judgmental. Any sense of powerlessness over the problem is avoided, and personal choice is emphasized. This helps an individual to achieve the desired outcome.
MET program is frequently imbibed as a part of a complete addiction treatment program with an addition to other behavioral therapies that include cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step programs. This helps an individual to go through behavioral change gradually.