motivational interviewing

Will Motivational Interviewing Help Me?

by Pat Fontana

Sometimes just having someone to listen to you can make a huge difference in how you feel about your situation. Talking to a trusted friend can relieve some of your worry and help you gain better insight into what steps you need to take for your life. That is basically the principle behind an approach known as motivational interviewing. If you are struggling with an addiction, you may wonder if motivational interviewing can help you.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

Developed in the 1980s as part of an approach toward treating alcohol addiction, motivational interviewing involves a series of open-ended questions. These are designed to help you understand more about your own situation and to draw out your own reasons for wanting to make a change in your life. In other words, a counselor is not telling you what you should do, but rather asking what you think you should do and what might happen if you don’t make a change.

Who Benefits from Motivational Interviewing?

Today, the technique of motivational interviewing has been shown to be effective in addressing an addiction to drugs as well as alcohol. In addition, many people benefit from the approach when they have physical health conditions such as heart disease and asthma.

It is most effective for individuals who are unmotivated or unprepared for change. If you have been resisting addiction treatment, motivational interviewing may help you move through the stages necessary so you can find your own motivation.

Collaboration, Not Confrontation

You may be hesitant to consider an addiction treatment program because you believe it will be confrontational. However, in motivational interviewing you will find that collaboration rather than confrontation is the key to finding your own reasons for change. When you are taking steps based on your motivation and not on what someone else is telling you to do, you tend to be better able to follow through with the action needed to move forward with your life.

Motivational Interviewing Principles

Establishing trust between the individual and the counselor is a critical piece of the process for getting help with addiction and mental health issues. The principles involved in motivational interviewing are focused on developing that sense of trust and openness.

Empathy: If you are concerned about being judged by a counselor or therapist, you can be assured that motivational interviewing is not about making you feel guilty about your behavior. The person conducting the interview will focus, instead, on understanding more about your situation from your point of view, as they employ empathy throughout the discussion.

Identifying discrepancy: The intent of many of the questions asked in the interview is to help you see the mismatch between where you are now and where you want to be. A clearer understanding of these situations can contribute significantly to your motivation to change.

Rolling with resistance: There are no right or wrong answers when you participate in motivational interviewing. In fact, your counselor understands that it’s natural to change your mind many times about whether you want to make changes in your life and about how you view the process or even what your new life might look like.

Your counselor can help you reframe your situation by offering different interpretations. Based on your own goals and values, changing your viewpoint from self-blame to self-motivation can increase your desire to make a change.

Developing self-efficacy. Basically, this means that the motivational interviewing technique helps you develop your belief in yourself and your confidence in your ability to follow through with a positive behavior to accomplish your goal. In the case of addiction, your target is to make the changes you want to be able to live a healthier life.

The individual asking the questions will guide you through the behavior change, recognizing the positive changes you want to make, and offering you encouragement along the way. You will soon start to recognize your abilities and strengths to change your behavior for the better.

Get Help for Your Addiction at South Miami Recovery

Overcoming an addiction is not easy. At South Miami Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your recovery. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a healthier life.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.