Motivational interviewing (MI) in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is a powerful tool for creating stronger alignment between therapists and their clients.
Too often, SUD patients experience loss-of-personhood throughout their treatment. Stigma and stereotypes position therapists to assume they will have to spearhead SUD clients’ health, and/or make philosophical decisions on their behalf. These practitioners enact manipulation to convince or even force their clients into certain behaviors and outcomes; they put on a layer of armor before even meeting their patients. Client resistance ensues when this struggle for control begins, especially when the counselor is quickly pushing an agenda that the client is not fully ready to embrace. The practitioner solidifies SUD patient stigma internally (and at large) when experiencing this dynamic they create, instead of acknowledging that patient resistance is simply a response to distrust and discomfort. There is no room for vulnerability, collaboration, or autonomy in a space filled with harsh interpersonal communication and wrongful predispositions.
Motivational Interviewing based on Substance Use Disorders
MI principles assert that patients are experts on themselves, filled to the brim with unique strengths, trustworthy, perceptive, and capable leaders in their own healing. In the MI world, the patient is the ultimate decision-maker. Once the patient verbalizes:
- The care they want to receive, and
- The specific goals THEY want to pursue; goals that are important to them, that resonate and evoke their internal motivation — then the therapist’s job is to facilitate change through open-ended, reflective questions, unwavering support, and embodied faith in the patient.
The therapists’ primary role is to investigate what sparks the client’s inspiration to heal, share equal excitement upon that value, affirm faith in the clients’ capability to achieve their objective, and continuously use the clients’ own ideals to inform their professional guidance. They are not “the hero.”
Marinate on this analogy: what’s the difference between lecture-based education and self-directed, hands-on, or project-based education? In the former, your job as a student is to listen to someone else’s voice in silence and hope that something sticks. When you take a test, you dread it and feel no connection to the academic experience. In the latter, your job as a student is to explore your own knowledge, add in new information that ignites interest, and ultimately re-build the material in a way that truly reflects your own personhood; then at the end of it all, you’ve also picked up new skills and possibly new friends. Not to mention, with a professor alongside the whole time who is an expert by trade, but a facilitator of student confidence by choice.
With mental health often comes a serious loss of control and self-connection in our lives. Some traditional therapeutic approaches reinforce and perpetuate these feelings. 1 Method Center believes motivational interviewing principles could be part of the answer for eradicating misalignment between therapists and patients, and in turn: strengthening relationships, empowering clients, and improving outcomes.
Contact Sophros Recovery about Substance Use Disorder Today
We at Sophros understand that Jacksonville is in necessary need of assistance on the basis of substance use disorders, and we believe we can heal this community together. Our team has extensive experience treating addictions with a high success rate.
Contact us today at 904.760.4295.