Addiction specialists dedicate their careers to helping those with substance abuse and chemical dependency reclaim their lives.
There are many approaches to addiction treatment, including pharmacotherapies (drug intervention) and behavioral therapies. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), behavioral approaches help engage people in treatment, provide incentives for them to remain abstinent, and modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse. Therapy can also help people with addiction problems increase their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse.
While cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) remains the most common type of behavioral therapy, other similar approaches are gaining momentum.
One such approach is motivational interviewing (MI). The Center for Evidence-Based Practices says motivational interviewing is an evidence-based treatment that addresses ambivalence to change. MI is a conversational approach designed to help people express in their own words their desire for change, examine their ambivalence about the change, plan for and begin the process of change, enhance their confidence in taking action, and strengthen their commitment to change.
What is motivational interviewing in addiction treatment?
When applied to the problem of addiction, motivational interviewing can help prepare an individual for the monumental change involved when deciding to quit using drugs or alcohol. The technique of MI is client-centered. This means that the therapy revolves around the individual and their goals and needs, rather than what the therapist views as the best thing for the client. One of the major battles within an individual who is deciding to quit using is whether or not they truly want to. They may know they need to and have every reason in the world to quit, but they struggle with the many fears associated with sobriety. In this way, MI can help the client identify what they want out of life and assist them in reaching that goal. This approach can be very empowering to a person who has felt ruled by their addiction and beaten down by the “shoulds” (“I should quit.” “I should want to quit.” etc.) In this way, they are able to create the life they wish for, with the help of their therapist.
Behavioral Therapies | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (n.d.). Retrieved January, 2017.
Motivational Interviewing | Center for Evidence Based Practices (n.d.). Retrieved January, 2017.