When choosing to change one’s behavior, the motivation to do so must inevitably come from within the individual themself. No matter how badly one’s parents, siblings, significant other or friends want them to change, if the desire to change their behavior isn’t something the person wants for themself, it isn’t going to happen. 

This truth isn’t something which has remained unaddressed in counseling and recovery. Motivational interviewing focuses on this need for change to come from within, and helps individuals through their recovery process by encouraging and allowing them to find, and stick, to that motivation and drive they discover in themselves. 

What is motivational therapy? 

Motivational therapy (MI) is a form of therapy used for individuals searching for a reason to make a positive change in their life. Commonly it is used in substance abuse therapy, or for anyone who knows that the trajectory of their lives is damaging and unhealthy, but are finding it increasingly difficult to commit to or even desire a plan for recovery. 

Motivational therapy also focuses on the relationship of trust built between the therapist and client. For someone struggling with changing their behavioral patterns, a therapy tactic that is more confrontational or imposes the therapist’s views on the client isn’t going to be very effective. Instead, motivational therapy works in a way that accepts the client where they are, is compassionate of their state, yet still encourages and evokes from within the client a desire for a healthier, fuller and more complete lifestyle.

Why is motivational therapy used? 

For someone who has struggled with substance abuse for a long time, they might have mixed feelings about changing their behavior. Motivational therapy takes this reluctance into consideration. 

In addition, motivational therapy is used to address ambivalence and an unmotivated, hostile or angry attitude towards change. It can be used to reframe the thinking of an individual with low self-confidence who doesn’t believe they have what it takes to change, or are convinced they are unworthy of changing. It helps individuals desire a change when they previously showed signs of not caring enough to want a change. Lastly, it helps individuals address and accept the importance of change, whereas they might have previously been unconvinced that a change of behavior was important for their health and wellbeing. 

Benefits of motivational therapy 

As with all forms of therapy, motivational therapy offers numerous benefits to clients, including: 

  • Increased self-esteem – Recovery through motivational interviewing doesn’t happen because ‘someone told you to.’ This kind of recovery is one that is completely and entirely owned by the individual; no one forces the individual to change, rather, the change comes from within. For someone who has found the desire, strength and motivation from within to make a change for the better, it can be a very empowering, not to mention lasting, form of recovery. 
  • A sense of responsibility for one’s actions – Motivational therapy doesn’t allow for individuals to blame others for their choices or actions. An important part of recovery is adopting the mentality of responsibility, and claiming this responsibility over one’s actions, no matter how unpleasant they may be. While this is a difficult lesson to learn, it is one which benefits a person well beyond recovery. 
  • Lowers the possibility of relapse – Because motivational therapy promotes change from within, the individual is less inclined to relapse because they aren’t embracing someone else’s values, they are living a life based on their own values. It is much easier to stick to recovery when one is living in accordance with values and goals they designed for themselves, rather than ones someone else said they should live for. 
  • Opens receptivity to treatment – Motivational therapy encourages a change of mind and change of heart, as it’s traditionally done in conjunction with other forms of therapy, it opens up the individual to receiving these other forms of treatment. Whereas the client might have been resistant to options like CBT or DBT, MI helps them to desire these other forms in order to solidify recovery even more. 

When to consider MI 

Perhaps you think you’re too deep into addiction to really believe therapy could even help. Maybe you have a family member resistant to changing their habits, but have still agreed to see a therapist even so. It might even be a case of an individual battling an aggressive relapse because previous methods of therapy proved ineffective. No matter what the case is, motivational therapy can help those struggling with ambivalence to help them find that desire for a life of freedom, gratitude and joy.

To speak with a motivational therapist today, constant Silver Ridge Recovery at 855-945-7788.