Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET)

Table of Contents

    What is MET and How Does It Work?

    Motivation Enhancement Therapy, otherwise known as MET, is a therapeutic approach used to build intrinsic motivation and resolve ambivalence within substance-abusing patients.  Many people start treatment with mixed feelings and significant levels of ambivalence.  On the one hand, they want to engage in treatment and make healthy life changes, but on the other hand, and at the same time, they want to remain the same. 

    MET was made for such situations.  MET’s goal is to rapidly raise motivation for treatment by clarifying the clients’ goals, values, and treatment engagement in a non-judgmental way.  Other MET strategies include reframing, restructuring, and building a discrepancy from where the client is to where they want to be

    Motivational Enhancement Therapy Treatment Sessions

    Prior to the first MET treatment, a comprehensive assessment is facilitated which includes a detailed client history.  Then, during the first MET session, that information is provided to the client as feedback and discussed.  This helps the counselor get to know the client better and makes it easier to recommend the personalized interventions that will provide the greatest therapeutic benefit.   

    The first treatment session is all about providing feedback to the patient on their assessment.  This feedback is a great way to quantify the damage caused by substance abuse and gauge the client’s reaction to it.  A secondary goal involves motivational interviewing techniques centered on eliciting self-motivational statements from the cleint.  The basics of motivational interviewing can be used to strengthen motivation throughout treatment.

    MET focuses on increasing intrinsic motivation by raising awareness of a problem, adjusting any self-defeating thoughts regarding the problem, and growing confidence in one’s ability to change.

    What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy Used For

    Motivational Enhancement Therapy is used mainly in substance abuse treatment, with some applications in other mental health treatment domains.  In regards to substance abuse, MET works better for some drugs than others.  Research has indicated that MET works best when paired with Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

    How MET Works

    Motivational Enhancement Therapy works alongside the trans-theoretical stages of change model.  Using MET can help a client moving from a pre-contemplation or contemplation stage to the planning/readiness stage(s) of the change cycle.  Often, MET is used at the beginning of a treatment episode to build motivation, increase treatment engagement, and resolve ambivalence.

    Part of MET is the therapist engaging the client in conversations about specific topics to raise the client’s motivation level. Each patient has different factors affecting their level of motivation, making MET a highly individualized therapy.

    Goals and Principles of MET

    The overriding goal of Motivational Enhancement Therapy is to build the patients’ intrinsic motivation for abstinence and engagement in treatment.  MET is organized around five basic principles: expressing empathy, developing discrepancy, avoiding argumentation, rolling with resistance, and supporting self-efficacy

    Phase 1 – Building the client’s motivation for change

    • Counselor attempts to elicit self-motivational statements
    • Counselor practices empathy-based listening skills
    • Questions are used to clarify something or highlight a particular aspect of something
    • Clients are presented with personal feedback relating to them
    • At each stage of the process, the client is affirmed and encouraged
    • If resistance arises, it is explored openly and without judgment
    • Reframing
    • The counselor does not assume he understands what the client is saying but summarizes the key points to ensure understanding

    Phase 2: Strengthening commitment to change

    • Recognizing what stage of change a client is in is helpful when choosing therapeutic techniques and interventions
    • Both the development and discussion of a clients change plan are important
    • Clients freedom and free choice is established and reiterated throughout treatment
    • Consequences of action and inaction are defined and elaborated
    • Information is provided neutrally, and advice is avoided
    • Client abstinence of substances is encouraged and emphasized each step of the way
    • Resistance is not dealt with as much as it is explored
    • Putting a change plan on paper is essential for the client to buy in and internalize the change strategy
    • Recapitulating
    • Asking for commitment

    Phase 3: follow-through strategies

    • Reviewing progress
    • Renewing motivation
    • Redoing commitment

    Wellness Center NJ provides a variety of research backed counseling modalities from Cliffside Park, NJ.  Please feel free to reach out via our phone number or contact form.

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