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What is Motivational Interviewing and How Can it Help Someone in Addiction Recovery?


Group counseling session

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a psychotherapeutic approach meant to help individuals move forward from a state of uncertainty and towards positive decisions and particular goal. Lack of motivation in recovery can be damaging because it prevents a person from getting to where they want to be. With MI, a therapist works closely with the client to help them identify and dissolve the reasons that are keeping them from progressing. There are three main elements to MI: collaboration, evocation, and autonomy. Rather than being confrontational, MI therapists work with and alongside the client as they talk through what they should do next. Additionally, the therapist will provide information to help encourage the client, but will listen more than talk. Lastly, MI therapists place all of the power on the client. If you’re in MI, it’s truly all up to you – and the more decision-making you have in your recovery process, the more you will be invested in your decisions.

A 2017 study conducted by researchers from California and published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology sought to explore the effectiveness of MI on reducing substance abuse among individuals with depression. Three hundred and seven individuals 18 or older who reported substance abuse participated in the study; participants were randomly selected to engage in either 3 sessions of MI or review documents pertaining to alcohol abstinence. From there, participants completed surveys and follow-up interviews relating to their alcohol and drug use and depressive symptoms at 3 and 6 months after. Results from the study showed that at 6 months, MI was most effective in reducing substance abuse than those in the comparison group.

Whether you or a loved on is contemplating following through with a treatment program altogether or whether or not to take a step forward in recovery, MI can provide a lot of freedom and space to discover the options. If you’ve been struggling with addiction, seek help today by speaking with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about addiction recovery programs as well as motivational interviewing. It’s never too late to begin your journey to recovery.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.