rippleranch_logo-200x101-1-q6144w15aqyeb8bcxqq9ctly80oko5dqv2hqwrlz40 (1)

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy?

Learn about motivational enhancement therapy and its techniques and principles at Ripple Ranch Recovery here.

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy?

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET), also known as motivational interviewing therapy, is a client-centered approach to therapy. This therapy focuses on increasing a person’s drive or motivation to change dysfunctional or harmful behavior. MET frequently works in tandem with other therapeutic techniques.1

For those who have a substance abuse disorder, despite being aware of the detrimental effects these behaviors have on their health or social functioning, lack the motivation or knowledge to stop these habits. Thus, the purpose of motivational interviewing is to assist individuals in viewing life patterns more objectively so that they feel empowered enough to start the change process.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Table of Contents

Learn More About Ripple Ranch Recovery Center

Our team is standing by to discuss your situation and options. Your call is fully confidential, and no obligation is required

How Motivational Enhancement Therapy Works

Motivational enhancement therapy employs negotiation to assist clients in overcoming any obstacles that prevent the motivation for recovery. More importantly, motivational enhancement therapy’s success depends on a collaborative relationship between the therapist and the client. This relationship is comparable to coaching relationships, as the therapist acts as the patient’s instructor and support network while attempting to bring about change in their lives.

What Can Motivational Enhancement Therapy Help With?

Given that motivational enhancement therapy focuses on assisting people in becoming more willing, confident, and ready to change, it is regarded as a valuable rehabilitation approach in addressing a wide range of physiological and behavioral health conditions, such as:
  • Addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorders

Techniques of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational enhancement techniques are considered unique because they empower people to take responsibility for their recovery. Counselors use several techniques to assist clients in exploring their thoughts and discovering their motivations by employing seemingly simple yet powerful motivational interviewing strategies.
Motivational interviewing therapy centers on five key techniques that have been shown to increase patients’ motivation for recovery. These techniques will be detailed below.

Developing and Expressing Empathy

A significant goal of motivational interviewing is to help patients learn new ways to express themselves and develop empathy by becoming aware of how their actions affect others.2

Acknowledging the Disparity Between Thoughts and Reality

Motivational interviewing helps patients accept that there is often a gap between where they believe they are and where they actually are. Recognizing this gap is the first step toward developing the self-motivation to change.

Avoiding Arguments

Not arguing with patients is a major principle of motivational interviewing therapy. Positive reactions to negativity work better than other strategies to draw attention to problematic behavior. Therefore, motivational interviewing counselors instead attempt to involve ambivalent clients in constructive recovery and to help them extend their perspective.

Accepting Resistance as Part of The Process

Motivational interviewing is based on the premise that how resistance is handled affects the client’s therapy experience. So, a therapist’s role is to help patients by giving them a new perspective on themselves and their behavior.

Supporting the Self-Efficacy of Individuals Recovering from Addiction

Through motivational therapy, particularly motivational interviewing for addiction, counselors can significantly boost a patient’s self-efficacy. This is done by highlighting their existing capabilities and qualities and reinforcing their ability to make the desired changes.3

What Happens in a Motivational Enhancement Therapy Session?

The purpose of motivational interviewing sessions is for counselors to use creative techniques and approaches to activate and engage the client’s intrinsic motivation. The various stages of motivational interviewing sessions include:


During motivational enhancement therapy for substance abuse, a mental health professional must first conduct a clinical assessment of the client. This assessment is done to ascertain the nature of the patient’s issue and determine the best treatment option.4

Addressing Concerns

This session’s main goal is to reflect on the clinical assessment’s conclusion and attempt to elicit change through open-ended questions. When the therapist determines that the client is ready for change, they can proceed to the next step.5

Create an Action Plan

This stage involves formulating long-term objectives to give the patient perspective and positive reinforcement for developing and achieving change-related goals. Motivational interviewing in addiction works by having a specific and detailed plan of action that gives the patient clarity regarding what needs to be done.

Supporting Personal Choice and Control

Motivational enhancement offers patients emotional support as well. Restoring patients’ self-confidence and increasing their motivation for treatment requires actively promoting their choices, preferences, needs, and values.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Stages of Change

Motivational interviewing psychology understands that the patient can change and has the inner resources needed to effect that change. The following motivational interviewing stages of change have been conceptualized for various behavioral issues:6
  • Pre-Contemplation: Being unaware of problematic behavior and having no intention to change.
  • Contemplation: Acknowledging the problem but taking no action to address it.
  • Determination: Deciding to change and getting ready to implement the change.
  • Action: Changing one’s behavior, experiences, or environment to solve the problem.
  • Maintenance: Working to avoid relapse and to maintain the gains made during the action stage.
  • Relapse: Returning to previous behavior and beginning the cycle again.

How Effective Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy?

Motivational enhancement interviewing is an alternative to 12-step programs developed by two clinical psychologists, Stephen Rollnick and William R. Miller. It has proven to be an effective method for developing a plan for change for a range of behavioral issues. Additionally, according to one study, motivational interviewing for adolescents, in addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy, is beneficial for dealing with teen dependency on cannabis.

In 2003, a meta-analysis was conducted on controlled clinical trials to compare cognitive behavioral therapy to motivational interviewing. This study helped determine the effects of motivational interviewing on adolescent behavioral health and the overall efficacy of MET. Conclusions from the analysis found motivational counseling strategies to be similar to or better than other treatments, such as CBT or medication.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Statistics

Motivational therapy was found to be superior to non-treatment controls for reducing alcohol and drug use as well, as results from motivational interviewing in addiction showed a 51% improvement rate, along with a 56% reduction in patients’ drinking.7

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Benefits of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

The National Institute on Drug Abuse asserts that motivational enhancement therapy for substance abuse is beneficial for a wide range of behavioral impairments. For example, it helps enlist people in treatment, lower their substance use, and overcome their indecisiveness about making positive changes.
Some other benefits of motivational interviewing are that:
  • It works quickly: Motivational therapy sessions are brief, with a maximum of 5-6 sessions.
  • It reduces resistance and ambivalence: Motivational interviewing presents change to the patient with tact and empathy. This is done by avoiding counterproductive approaches that will elicit resistance.
  • It emphasizes choice: The motivational counseling approach is collaborative, putting the patient in charge of making changes, with the therapist serving as a guide rather than an authoritative figure.

Find Motivational Enhancement Therapy at Ripple Ranch Recovery

We know how challenging even the most meaningful changes in life can be. At Ripple Ranch Recovery, we use motivational therapy to help patients address and adjust attitudes that might prevent them from making healthier lifestyle decisions.

You can expect a personalized treatment plan at Ripple Ranch Recovery that is tailored to your needs and involves you as a proactive agent in your change. Our team is ready to show you the benefits of motivational interviewing, provide you with more information about motivational group therapy, and work with you to create the most effective care plan possible. Reach out to us today.