Motivational interviewing therapy is a form of counseling that focuses on helping people identify what motivates them to change their behavior. It was originally formulated as a method for treating alcohol addiction. Since its inception, it has become more broadly used in addiction treatment centers across the country. Motivational interviewing therapy tries to empower individuals and connect them to intrinsic and extrinsic sources of motivation that can establish solid ground for pursuing recovery.

Find out more about Olympic Behavioral Health’s many addiction therapy programs by calling 844.983.3916.

The Foundations of Motivational Interviewing Therapy

As a therapeutic technique, motivational interviewing therapy relies on collaboration, evocation, and autonomy in the relationship between therapist and client. These three concepts form the fundamentals of quality motivational interviewing programs in Boynton Beach and elsewhere across the country.

Collaboration refers to the type of partnership formed during recovery. Therapists and clients truly have to work together to develop rapport and trust. The client’s perspective, experience, and viewpoint lead conversations. While the therapist brings expertise and clinical experience to the table, those are imposed less to make space for what the client brings to the experience.

Evocation refers to the idea that a therapist, during motivational interviewing therapy, is trying to draw out a client’s ideas, beliefs, and motivations. This is in contrast to other kinds of therapy, which are more education-focused. Both approaches merit different people as they tackle different challenges during recovery.

Lastly, autonomy is the idea that the locus of control and motivation are both within the client. The therapist cannot change a client’s behavior for them. Hence, empowering clients to take ownership of their recovery journey is critical.

Motivational Interviewing Therapy Techniques woman smiling

Exploring feelings, emotions, and motivations are core to motivational interviewing programs in Boynton Beach and elsewhere. Thus, motivational interviewing therapy employs four basic techniques:

  • Open-ended questions
  • Affirmations
  • Reflective listening
  • Summaries

First, open-ended questions are designed to evoke meaningful, deep answers. They cannot be addressed with a simple yes or no. They create space for the therapist/client relationship to develop and deepen as a personal connection and understanding are forged. Second, affirmations acknowledge a client’s strengths and behaviors. Reinforcing productive, healthy behavior and expressions during recovery goes a long way to building motivation.

Third, reflective listening is a tool used by therapists to express empathy. This type of listening prioritizes speaking back what a client relays to show that the therapist works hard to understand their unique perspective. Fourth, summaries refer to a therapist’s move in recapping a discussion.

Benefits of Motivational Interviewing Therapy

Even though motivational interviewing therapy was designed for treating alcohol abuse disorder, it is commonly used to intervene for several other disorders and issues. It holds particular promise for people seeking positive behavior change related to dieting, exercise, or negative behaviors like smoking. In addition, it is often paired with cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating anxiety disorders.

Motivational interviewing therapy is especially helpful for people who display resistance to treatment or fail to make the necessary initial lifestyle changes to support improved mental health or substance abuse recovery. Other benefits of this intervention include:

  • Decreasing the prevalence of relapse
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Empowering individuals to seek lifestyle changes
  • Helping people take responsibility for what is within their control

Motivational interviewing therapy may not be the best fit for everyone. These benefits seem to be experienced most commonly among people who enter this type of treatment with mixed feelings about potential behavior change. It is a less relevant technique for people who are already fully bought into treatment or else completely resistant to the prospect of altering themselves through therapy.

Find out more about motivational interviewing programs in Boynton Beach by contacting Olympic Behavioral Health at 844.983.3916.