What Is Motivational Interviewing?


Motivational Interviewing, also known as MI, is a counseling approach that is utilized to inspire patients to change their harmful behaviors. MI was first described in 1983 by Professor William R. Miller, Ph.D., in an issue of Behavioral Psychotherapy. Often, this addiction treatment approach is utilized for individuals with a lack of motivation to quit using substances. Recently, many drug and alcohol treatment centers in West Virginia have started applying the practice as well. Harmony Ridge Recovery Center, on the other hand, has been offering motivational interviewing for substance abuse to our patients for years! Contact us today and we will show you what good MI is all about!

happy person after motivational interviewing for substance abuse treatment
Everything is possible with proper motivation.

How does motivational interviewing benefit treatment?


The thought behind MI is that the people that have been dealing with addiction are partially aware of the negative repercussions that come with drug addiction and abuse. This is despite the individuals struggling with health, social, financial, and legal consequences at the same time. In fact, every individual has their own specific stage of readiness when it comes to their behavior being changed. 

During the motivational interviewing for substance abuse treatment sessions, the MI therapist will facilitate the overall process of getting in a position to change the patient’s uncertainty or even fear of the unknown. Therefore, increasing the client’s motivation instead. The goal of this treatment modality is to get the patient to understand that their motivation need not be connected to the substance of their choice. However, the road to becoming motivated can be quite difficult. This is due to the fact that various addicted individuals lack the motivation to change. There are three main reasons why this is the case.

Firstly, people feel as if their substance abuse issues aren’t as serious as they really are. Secondly, the person doesn’t want to give up the worthwhile sensations that are associated with their drug use. Lastly, the individuals fear the consequences of stopping substance use, including cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

person holding a beer bottle behind their back
Many people seek treatment due to pressure from loved ones.

MI is a very effective “forced” treatment

Furthermore, numerous addicted individuals go through several stages of grief after giving up their drugs of choice. Motivational interviewing is an effective addiction treatment method not only for patients who have sought out treatment but also for those who have been given addiction treatment. This is usually a part of being pressured into it by loved ones but many people, such as those already attending one of the cocaine rehab West Virginia programs,  realize the effectiveness of MI, and they enroll in the program quite willingly.

How Is Motivational Interviewing Conducted?


There are seven key stages of motivational interviewing that should be sustained across variations in the overall MI technique. The seven key stages of motivational interviewing include the following:

  • Motivation comes from the client and not from outside sources.
  • The patient is responsible for resolving doubt, not the counselor.
  • Doubt cannot be resolved through direct persuasion.
  • The counselor will quietly obtain information from the client. 
  • The counselor will guide the client in first recognizing and then resolving uncertainty. 
  • Readiness to change is a varying result of interpersonal interaction and not a trait. 
  • The client-counselor relationship should favor a partnership. 

Motivational interviewing is a quite straightforward process that can be completed in a tiny number of sessions. This is its greatest strength, as it can be seamlessly incorporated with other treatment modalities. This is why you can opt for motivational interviewing in many fentanyl rehab centers across the country. Typically, motivational interviewing steps are as follows:

Step 1 – Engaging

Talking to the client about concerns, hopes, and issues and establishing a trustful relationship. This is the most important part of the process, where the therapist and patient get to “connect”. It sets the proper stage for the next steps.

Step 2 – Focusing

 This step is narrowing down the conversation to the topic of habits and patterns the patient desires to change. Motivational interviewing for substance abuse is “straight to the point”, after all.

Step 3 – Evoking

Obtaining patient information for change by increasing the sense of the importance of change, the readiness for change, and confidence that the change can occur. This step may require a few sessions, depending on the patient’s disposition. Many people in West Virginia heroin rehab centers, for example, have trouble with this particular step. There are many techniques available to the therapist for this step, and the best therapists (such as those found at Harmony) adapt to their patient’s needs.

person fixing a tie
The third step is all about being confident about the change.

Step 4 – Planning

 Developing a set of feasible steps that the patient can utilize to further execute any desired changes. As the last step, it is very important that the patient receives meaningful goals and realistic ways of fulfilling them.

MI is considered a client-centered model for counseling, meaning that it focuses on figuring out what clients want, not what the counselor feels is best. This process alone requires high levels of reflective listening, empathy, and the ability to form a sturdy bond with the client, ideally in a short amount of time. And that is precisely what the therapists that work in Harmony Ridge Recovery Center are able to do. If there’s one fact about us that you absolutely need to know, it is the fact that we employ some of the finest therapists in the entire country, evidenced by our glowing customer reviews!

Is Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse Effective?


Motivational interviewing appears to be especially effective for alcohol addiction, and this is likely because it’s easier to be doubtful about the overall use of legal substances due to the greater social acceptance than there is of the use of illicit substances. According to an analysis of various studies published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, MI is up to about 20% more effective than several other alcohol addiction treatment methods. The success in MI for substance abuse treatment has resulted in being tried for the following:

  • Various types of addiction 
  • Behavioral issues 
  • Mental issues

This can include the following:

  • Increasing motivation for positive behaviors such as exercise or healthy eating
  • Gambling addiction
  • Parenting practices
  • Eating disorders

But MI is much more than a way to overcome alcohol addiction. It is used in many other rehabs, such as:

Basically, every time when motivation is an issue, MI is there to help out. It is an excellent treatment modality even for people that are completely sober. All of us struggle with motivation from time to time, after all. You don’t need to pay a visit to one of the benzodiazepine rehab centers just to take a crash course in MI. But to tell the truth, most people that seek MI usually have an addiction problem.

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Benefits of Motivational Interviewing


There are many benefits that come with increased motivation. Each person will be able to get a unique set of benefits from MI. Whether you are enrolled in a marijuana rehab West Virginia program or trying to overcome any other issue, motivational interviewing will bring the following benefits:

  • Large effects from brief motivational interviewing counseling have held up across a wide variety of real-life clinical surroundings 
  • Emphasizes the building of client motivation which is a strong determinant of change
  • Clients learn a method that is likely to assist them within the first few sessions
  • Delivered within the context of a larger healthcare delivery system 
  • Increased treatment programs participation and retention rates
  • Enhances agreement which improves the treatment outcomes
  • Increased probability of successful treatment outcomes
  • Don’t assume a long-lasting client-therapist relationship
  • Normally delivered in about 2-4 outpatient sessions
  • Triggers change in risk-taking lifestyle behaviors
  • Higher treatment post-program abstinence rates
  • Single sessions have adduced behavior change
  • Mobilizes patient’s resources for change
  • Well-suited for a managed care setting
  • Compatible with health care delivery 
  • Designed as a brief intervention
  • Cites behavior change
person writing on a blackboard
MI can turn a “Can’t” into a “Can”!

Furthermore, MI can be beneficial for those who haven’t experienced good results with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). When there is a lack of motivation present, changing an individual’s thoughts and behavior patterns can be quite challenging, after all. Thus, addicted individuals who experience uncertainty about quitting might need to go through motivational interviewing first. This is particularly evident with stimulants rehab, where patients often express their unwillingness to stop using their stimulant of choice.

Motivational interviewing vs CBT

When comparing motivational interviewing to CBT, MI works better for individuals who require support, a close relationship with their counselors, and a validation of their feelings. The fact of the matter is that no CBT can provide this level of connection. MI might also be beneficial for individuals who have relapsed in the past after an attempt to get clean. When there is indecision about the consequences of drug abuse, it can be a factor in repeated relapse. And this indecision is exactly what MI is designed to eliminate.

The process of assisting a person in navigating through the lack of motivation to quit abusing substances isn’t based on pressure or guilt from health professionals or loved ones, like many other forms of treatment often are. If done correctly, MI can reduce the chance of future relapse. It can also lead to extended health through honest, emphatic conversations. Due to these factors, motivational interviewing for substance abuse is “right at home” in both an opiate rehab center and family therapy programs.

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Limitations of Motivational Interviewing


Even though MI has assisted various individuals in discovering the motivation needed to get on the path of recovery, it isn’t an ideal form of treatment for everyone. For individuals who have more complex addiction issues, such as co-occurring mental illnesses, simple motivation might not be enough. MI is designed to last for four hours per session, with a limited number of sessions, after all.

two people going through motivational interviewing for substance abuse
Motivational interviewing may not be ideal for complex addiction issues.

A person with an underlying significant mental illness will require a more in-depth approach to counseling, possibly one that’s combined with medication, in an attempt to arrive at a place where motivation poses a possibility. That is why MI is often offered at a meth rehab center West Virginia, where patients can work through other issues before needing to be motivated. This is also true for patients with major depressive disorders, which often are distinguished by a lack of motivation. Individuals who lack the cognitive clarity to focus on the pros and cons or come up with a plan also are more unlikely to be helped by MI.

This process could include people with more severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as well as individuals with cognitive disabilities. Also, individuals who have been medicated for mental illness recently will experience temporary side effects that can then reduce their ability to focus. These patients might need time to find the most effective medication for them and adjust. It is not that MI is unable to help them; it is simply that the effectiveness of the treatment may not be at its highest.

Contact Harmony Ridge Today!

The first step toward achieving recovery is to reach out to one of the rehabs in WV that can get you on the track to recovery. Our admissions team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Give us a call today!

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How to Know If Motivational Interviewing Will Be Effective


Ultimately, the key to whether or not MI will be effective depends on the counselor, as well as the patient. Motivational interviewing for substance abuse is a difficult treatment approach to master, as the counselor has to be able to build trusting relationships with various types of people since anyone can become addicted to a substance and visit an inpatient drug rehab in WV. A considerable amount of understanding and patience is necessary since the process is also designed to go swiftly. To put it in simple terms, counselor really needs to know what they are doing. That is why Harmony Ridge Recovery Center is extremely proud of our counselors. They are proving day in and day out that they, in fact, know what they are doing.

The process of motivational interviewing is designed to go quickly because many individuals are unable to pay for many addiction therapy sessions. Or they might even be in the midst of legal battles surrounded by drug use. However, a counselor who can help the patient overcome these difficulties might be able to assist those who have been unsuccessful with various other treatment methods. If you are looking for a counselor that can help you even in the toughest of times, contact us today and look no more!

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Motivational Interviewing for Substance Abuse Treatment


The main point of MI for substance abuse treatment is overcoming the internal conflict over whether or not an individual truly wants to quit or not. Even though there are several reasons to stop engaging in drug abuse or even get serious addiction treatment; for an individual that is addicted, there are also many reasons not to, as well. This is, incidentally, one of the most significant drawbacks to any intensive outpatient program West Virginia has to offer. What often happens is that individuals might go back and forth many times after feeling prompted to quit. This usually happens due to the following reasons:

  • They encounter legal or health consequences of drug abuse
  • They have a conversation with a loved one

After any of the above-mentioned processes occur (or due to any other reason for quitting), the individual might lose that motivation the following morning. In a recent study that was conducted, the students who were addicted to tobacco that also received motivational interviewing for substance abuse treatment were about four times more likely than the individuals in the control group to attempt cutting down or quitting.

All in all, MI aims to lay out the pros and cons of quitting based on what the patient feels is important. This is yet another reason why having a good counselor is so important for MI and for substance abuse treatment WV programs overall. A counselor that simply states the “standard” reasons for quitting is simply as not as effective as someone who really “gets” the patient.

MI brings a true desire to change

What MI does is helps patients overcome denial and come to their formed conclusions about the pros and cons of drug abuse. The patients start feeling the true desire to change. They also learn what the change might look like and how they can better implement that change. Through MI, it becomes much easier for the change to take place. The participants also don’t feel as forced to give up on something that they love. Instead, they are pursuing more of a life change that they have chosen themselves. Some may then choose to partake in one of the sober living WV programs, while others feel they can do it on their own.

MI for Substance Abuse at Harmony Ridge


At Harmony Ridge Recovery Center WV, we utilize a unique approach to addiction treatment. Our evidence-based style assists those struggling with substance abuse, and our motivational interviewing for substance abuse counselors are some of the best in the entire country. We welcome you to our treatment facility with our caring and licensed medical team, management, and administration. Contact us today, and we will help you overcome your addiction!

Frequently Asked Questions


What are some of the most common questions I will need to answer?

While the questions themselves are tailored to each individual, some of the most common include: “How did you stay motivated while doing repetitive work?”, “What does success look like to you?”, “What kind of environment brings you the most joy?” and “What things do you like the most about your life right now?”.

Is motivational interviewing all that I need?

More often than not, MI is used to supplement other therapy modalities. That being said, there is a distinct possibility that you might not need a different therapy approach and that MI will be all that you need.

What treatment options are there at Harmony Ridge?

Our treatment center can provide you with a wide range of treatment options, including CBT, DBT, individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, art therapy, holistic addiction therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, and, of course, motivational interviewing.

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