Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling technique used in behavioral therapy developed by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. It is often used alongside dialectical treatment to guide the client toward direct positive change. It is also used to direct patients out of ambivalence or a perceived loss of control over their own lives.
At Baltimore Detox Center, motivational interviewing is a style of dialectical behavior therapy with a goal-oriented direction that aims to facilitate lasting positive changes in the client.
The Purpose of Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing is one proven strategy available in a therapist’s toolbox to help heal addiction. It has a positive track record of increasing clients’ level of motivation, as well as measurably positive results for preventing relapses in drug and alcohol disorders over time. The style is non-confrontational and nonjudgmental and helps individuals to reveal to themselves what is causing their ambivalence. Motivational Interviewing for addiction increases the client’s awareness of the damaging effects of addiction, so they can begin to visualize how their life will improve by changing their self-destructive behavior.
Motivational Interviewing Techniques
Motivational interviewing (MI) brings out client realizations through change talk and sparks motivation to make positive changes based on these realizations. For example, change talk can be elicited by asking the client questions such as: “How might you do things differently if you had the choice”?
MI therapists always ask open-ended questions, reflectively listen, and reserve their judgment. Successful clinicians place themselves in the client’s point of view so that they can foster a genuine relationship based on empathy. This encourages the client to open up more freely to see new perspectives because they feel heard and in control. Motivational therapy sessions are more of a collaborative effort toward a resolution than a therapist trying to figure out a client.
The DEARS acronym is one created for MI and used by therapists to implement it in their practice. The steps of DEARS are:
- Develop discrepancy – This involves vocally establishing discrepancies between the self and the future, improved self. It emphasizes the negative consequences of behavior, as well as encourages the client’s sense of self and autonomy over their life.
- Express empathy – This means to listen and express empathy toward the client reflectively. This step establishes a special rapport between the client and client that encourages freedom to communicate with the therapist and solidifies trust between them.
- Avoid arguments – During motivational interviewing, the clinician may be tempted to argue with the client about their behaviors or make pleas convincing them to change. When dealing with attitudes that are resistant to change, this is a big mistake. It usually causes progression backward and the client to feel manipulated. The most significant progress towards meaningful behavioral change is when the client makes their arguments for changes in their life, rather than entertaining someone else’s.
- Roll with resistance – “Rolling with resistance” is currently considered an outdated concept in MI. “Resistance,” as well as the term “rolling with resistance,” was discarded because the creators of MI felt it created assumptions and placed undue emphasis on the clients’ role in problems in the therapy.
- Support self-efficacy – Strong self-efficacy is the most significant predictor of success in behavioral change therapy. In many cases, the client has tried multiple times to attempt sobriety independently, and the consistent perception of failure to come through addiction has caused a loss of self-efficacy. The therapist is encouraged to praise the client’s small achievements to build up their sense of autonomy and control over their life.
Utilize Behavioral Therapy Techniques at Baltimore Detox Center
Behavioral therapy techniques play a large role in achieving positive treatment outcomes in addiction. Motivational interviewing is just one type of behavioral therapy technique that our treatment facility uses to fight addiction. If this goal-oriented style of therapy or any other behavioral therapy we offer seems like it could be beneficial to you or someone close to you in treating your addiction, please contact Baltimore Detox Center today at 833.714.1575.