In 1993, a clinical trial introduced Motivational Enhancement Therapy. While it was originally intended to help with alcohol addiction, it was soon used for other addiction therapies. MET combined the principles of motivational psychology and the techniques of motivational interviewing to develop a new, effective method of treatment for addiction therapy services.

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy

The motivational enhancement therapy definition explains that its aim is to guide patients to realize their own addiction issues and to find the desire to change within themselves. In essence, MET is a type of counseling that works with addicts to encourage them to become motivated to change. The introduction of MET as a treatment option for addiction is significant because of the support it provides to patients with overcoming addiction. Techniques used in enhancement therapy guide addicts in finding the courage to change their own destructive behaviors.

The Principles Of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

In motivational enhancement therapy, the main principles focus on helping an addict realize their own shortcomings, finding motivation, and resolving to change the situation themselves. It distinguishes MET from other therapies that involve the therapist diagnosing a problem and dictating what the addict should do about it.

Other key principles of motivational enhancement therapy (met), include:

  • Expressing empathy toward the patient with reflective listening.
  • Directing the patient’s attention to the discrepancies between where they want to be and where they actually are.
  • Focusing on avoiding any arguments by making sure any statements of change come from the patient and not the therapist.
  • Diffusing any resistance the patient exhibits with reflective listening or going along with the patient for the time being.
  • Supporting the development of the patient’s awareness that they can create their own change.

Glasses Near The Pack Of Books

The Evidence Base Of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

According to the Society of Clinical Psychology, the efficacy of motivational enhancement therapy has strong research support. In fact, it has been found to be especially helpful for addicts that are less prepared to admit that they are ready to change than other therapies.

Although MET was originally used for alcohol dependence treatment, motivational enhancement therapy for SUDs (substance abuse disorders) was soon adopted. When it comes to the treatment of substance abuse, research over the past 20 years has shown that shorter and less intensive therapies are just as effective as longer and more intensive therapies. This evidence-based support of short therapies helped lead to the development and eventual success of MET.

Because no addiction is the same, motivational enhancement therapy substance abuse counseling does have varying degrees of success with drug and alcohol treatment. Depending on the type of substance and the severity of the addiction, reaching sobriety can be difficult with any treatment technique. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that motivational enhancement therapy improvements have been seen when it is used within a treatment program.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Techniques

Motivational enhancement therapy techniques are founded on the idea that people can change their addictive behaviors with or without formal treatment. Therefore, MET guides the patient through a series of stages to help them modify their addictive behaviors.

The 5 stages of change in motivational enhancement therapy are:

  • Precontemplation – In this stage, the patient is not considering changing their behavior yet.
  • Contemplation – By this stage, the patient should be able to notice their problem behaviors and begin thinking of how they can change.
  • Determination – This is the stage in which the patient identifies their problems and decides to make a change.
  • Action – In this stage that usually takes about 3 to 6 months, the patient takes measures to modify their problem behavior.
  • Maintenance – The final stage of MET involves the patient maintaining the positive change they have made.

The Motivational Enhancement Therapy model consists of four sessions that are preceded by an initial assessment of the patient. In Session 1, our addiction therapists give feedback to the addict based on their assessment. This helps them to realize their harmful behaviors and leads the addict into the contemplation stage of the treatment phase.

Man Talking In Front Of The Crowd

Our therapists guide the patient through the remaining stages in a non-confrontational and nonjudgmental way. By Session 3 or 4, our therapists can usually focus on reinforcing the patient’s progress so far and encouraging them to continue their efforts. As with any therapy, there is always a chance for relapse. If the addict does relapse, they can begin their recovery steps with one of our MET therapists again.

Uses Of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

When MET was introduced in Project MATCH in 1993, it was tested for its effectiveness in treating those with alcohol addiction. So, motivational enhancement therapy for alcohol dependence was one of the first successes of this approach.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy, as far as the substance abuse treatment process goes, has been effective with adults suffering from marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and nicotine addictions. Furthermore, MET has been found to be a crucial asset in treating adolescents with addictions because adolescents are far less likely to be motivated to change their behaviors than adults.

MET is also used in the treatment of co-occurring disorders, sometimes referred to as dual diagnosis. Co-occurring disorders happen when addiction is coupled with a mental illness like OCD or PTSD.

Interaction With Other Therapies

Motivational Enhancement Therapy is an effective treatment approach in its own right, but it is also commonly used alongside other therapies for maximum success. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and 12-Step Programs are the two therapies most used with MET. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a complex program that focuses on helping its patients learn to cope with stress in healthy ways. 12-Step programs are a popular type of program that helps addicts remain sober by outlining strict steps for them to follow.

Therapy Session Between Patient And The Doctro

How We Can Help

Motivational Enhancement Therapy is a constructive and innovative method that helps to facilitate change within an individual by the individual. By encouraging introspection and using a non-confrontational approach, MET guides its patients toward recovery from addiction gently and effectively. Allowing a patient to undergo MET while in a rehabilitation facility only furthers the chances of successful treatment because of the controlled and supportive environment.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and would like to know more about how motivational enhancement therapy can help, call our representatives today. We have specialists available that are proficient in MET who can elaborate on treatment options and help to guide towards a healthy decision for the future of you or your loved one.

  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual. (1999)
  3. NIDA. (2018, January 17). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).