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Motivational Interviewing


Lack of motivation to quit can be one of the most significant barriers for people struggling with addiction. Change can be difficult even when faced with health concerns, financial consequences, social complications, and legal issues.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a therapeutic technique used to motivate patients to change destructive behaviors.

For the most part, all individuals dealing with a substance use disorder are at least partially aware of the negative consequences of alcohol or other drug use. But sometimes, overcoming the fear of change, or ambivalence towards change, can be extremely difficult. With Motivational Interviewing, a therapist facilitates the process of change by helping the patient overcome their fears and increasing the patient’s internal motivation for recovery.

Many addicted individuals lack the motivation to change for three main reasons, including:

  • They don’t think that their substance use problem is as severe as it is.
  • They don’t want to give up the positive feelings associated with their drug use.
  • They fear the consequences of ending their substance use, including withdrawal symptoms or its impact on their identity.

A Pathway to Change

Alcohol or drug use becomes the center of most people’s lives when they’re addicted. Because of this, the state of actually being addicted can be the most comfortable or “easiest” stance, simply because it’s familiar. Many people with addiction go through stages of grief after giving up their substance of choice.

Each person embarking on treatment is in a different stage of readiness (or “stage of change”) when confronting their behavior. MI is an effective technique for patients who voluntarily seek treatment and those required to attend therapy due to legal action or intervention from loved ones.

At Hannah’s House, our therapists operate under these guiding principles:

  • The counselor serves as a guide to help the patient recognize and resolve ambivalence.
  • Ambivalence or fear cannot be resolved through persuasion.
  • The patient is responsible for resolving ambivalence or fear.
  • The patient-counselor relationship should resemble a partnership.
  • Motivation must ultimately come from the patient, not from outside sources.

Motivational Interviewing at Hannah’s House

Motivational Interviewing is a simple process that can be completed in a small number of sessions and typically includes:

    • Engaging: Discuss issues, concerns, and hopes with the patient while establishing a trusting relationship.
    • Focusing: Concentrate on patterns and habits that the patient would like to change.
    • Evoking: Motivate patients for change by enhancing their understanding of the importance of change and their confidence that change can occur.
    • Planning: Develop a list of useful steps that the patient can use to reach their desired changes.

Motivational Interviewing & Substance Use Disorder Treatment

MI can help you or your loved one overcome the internal battle about quitting drugs and alcohol. Sometimes, patients may feel motivated to quit after encountering health or legal consequences, but they lose motivation the following day. 

By applying MI techniques, we can help you hold onto your desire to quit and help you connect with actionable steps that lead to recovery. Through a meaningful therapeutic relationship, our team of skilled clinicians can help you pursue the life that you choose—not the one addiction has chosen for you.

Contact Hannah’s House 

Sobriety is possible, and we can help. Leading-edge care enacts real, lasting change, which means women lead healthier, more confident, and purposeful lives. Call 866-952-5532 and get started on the road toward recovery today.