Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a counseling approach that helps individuals resolve their ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping their drug and/or alcohol use. This approach utilizes the principles and strategies of the Motivational Interviewing approach.
MET is based on five motivational principles that are designed to guide the therapist's work with an individual in therapy:
- Express Empathy: Therapists create a supportive environment in order to help an individual feel accepted and respected, and they engage in reflective listening rather than direct confrontation. The therapist will listen to what an individual is saying and then reflect it back, with slight but deliberate modifications. The modifications both let the individual know that the therapist has heard and understood and encourage the individual to elaborate.
- Developing Discrepancy: In MET, the therapist directs attention toward the discrepancy between an individual's desired state of being and that individual's actual state of being. This discrepancy may help aid in recognizing the ways that current behaviors hinder one from achieving goals, and it can also provide a strong incentive for behavior change.
- Avoiding Argumentation: A therapist will avoid attacking an individual or an individual's behavior, as this is thought to result in defensiveness and resistance. Other, gentler methods are used to raise awareness of any problems, and any statements regarding a need for change should come from the individual, not the therapist.
- Rolling With Resistance: Instead of directly confronting any resistance on the part of the individual, the therapist tries to defuse it, often through reflective listening or by simply going along with what an individual is saying. This approach may seem counterintuitive, but it decreases the odds of further defensiveness and may make it more likely that an individual will remain in therapy and benefit from other aspects of the intervention.
- Support Self-Efficacy: One's motivation to change typically depends not only on the reasons for modifying behavior but also on the belief that one is able to perform the tasks required for change. One aspect of a therapist's role is to help individuals become aware of their ability to successfully undertake the actions needed for change.
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