Motivational Enhancement Therapy

What is motivation enhancement therapy?

A person sitting on the ground against a brick wall.

There are days when merely getting out of bed is a challenge. It can happen to anyone. However, make sure to observe closely such instances. Once these occasional slumps stretch to days, weeks, and even months, there must be something serious going on. For one, serious mental health conditions can cause this feeling. If it’s the case, it can take negative feedback on our lives and how we connect with the people around us.

Many types of treatment and therapy are available that can properly address different mental health disorders. The behaviors related to habits can change with the right help. One of the most effective treatments is motivational enhancement therapy or MET.

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy Or MET?

Does Motivational Enhancement Therapy Work For Individuals With Substance Abuse?

According to the motivational enhancement therapy manual, MET aims to change and refocus your intrinsic drive in life. MET is usually recommended as a drug addiction treatment for people facing substance abuse and drug abuse problems and is backed by numerous studies.

Like most types of treatments, motivational enhancement therapy  (MET) begins with motivational interviewing where therapists treat individuals by asking them questions that can address negative behaviors such as alcohol abuse or substance use. Because it involves making conscious adjustments and motivation to change, it is a difficult process for most so therapists really need to express empathy and support the self-efficacy of the individuals to decide to better themselves.  Gradually, as it moves forward after the initial assessment, motivational enhancement therapy will help bring a new perspective even in the short term.

Motivational enhancement therapy is a clinical research guide for therapists to better diagnose substance use disorders recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These types of therapy focus on developing discrepancies between a person’s current behavior and their desired goals and support self efficacy and utilizing cessation strategies. Key components of motivational enhancement therapy include avoiding direct confrontation and instead encouraging individuals to express their own motivations for change, as well as challenging their beliefs about their substance use. Overall, it is not the therapist who will heal the patient alone, but also the patient.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy Significant Goals And Objectives

MET focuses on the treatment of mental illness, and its primary goal is to change or encourage the individual to change their behavior. Motivational enhancement therapy is primarily used in people with substance abuse disorders or behavioral problems (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy). It is the approach used to overcome those disrupting their well-being.

One can say that motivational enhancement therapy and Motivational Interviewing are the same. The main goal of motivational enhancement therapy is to help addicts overcome and become motivated in behavioral changes.

However, the difference between the two relies on specificities. MI is often used in a general setting with general goals and is usually the first step. In contrast, it is tailored to a more specific purpose.

Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy Evidence-Based?

Yes, strategies and other treatments used in this therapeutic approach are evidence-based. It is already backed up by numerous findings, resources, and research-based guide, all of which are credible.

A therapist of motivational enhancement therapy focuses on motivating clients through the five motivational enhancement therapy principles: communicating with understanding, preventing arguments, neutralizing opposition, elaborating on contradiction, and encouraging ability. These five principles of motivational enhancement therapy will bring out an individual’s strength to overcome difficulties in change.

Motivational enhancement therapy is a client-centered approach recommended by Project MATCH, which involves a family member in the process of promoting behavioral change related to drug use. The therapy emphasizes the use of change talk to help individuals become motivated and committed to making positive changes in their behavior. MET sessions are led by therapists who avoid argumentation and instead, uses techniques developed by Stephen Rollnick to encourage individuals to express their own reasons for change. By involving family members and avoiding confrontational approaches, MET provides a supportive and collaborative environment for individuals to work towards their goals.

A person sitting on a couch and talking to a therapist.

Factors To Consider In This Self-Efficacy Approach

Improving compliance means improving patient care. To motivate physicians to improve compliance in MET, one can start by removing any other administrative responsibilities or work so physicians can focus on working on their clients.

Other forms to consider in MET OR motivational interviewing are having them work with better technology and possibly more clinical staff. It is also essential to address any mood disorders in it if it starts affecting physicians due to various reasons.

Why is behavior change (such as in drug abuse) so difficult?

Changing one’s behavior is difficult but not entirely impossible. One of the main reasons why many people tend to resist change is because they have been accustomed to one habit or lifestyle for so long that they see change as a potential threat or harm to what they are used to. The unfamiliarity change brings scares them.

Using your voice to influence and motivate others should be put to fair use, especially in MET. Insight therapy professionals also suggest that to inspire others and express empathy, you should be able to empower them. Empowering others starts by empowering yourself first. Just like how loving others begin when you love yourself first.

It would be best if you also remembered to remain true to yourself in order to achieve internally motivated change. This way, your authenticity, motivation to change, commitment, and honesty will inspire others to follow you.

How do you inspire people in a team? What can MET therapists do?

In this self-motivation therapy, motivating a team or imbibing positive change is more than just being their leader. As an efficient and effective leader, you must set a comfortable and safe space for every single one of your team members. In motivational interviewing, it is crucial to build trust, loyalty, and understanding within the team. This way, you will be able to motivate and influence them better.

Do not forget to allow your teammates to have opportunities to grow and learn outside of the team.

What causes a lack of inspiration (other than alcohol abuse or drug abuse?

Lack of motivation is almost always associated with psychological disorders, especially depression. However, there are other causes for it, such as lack of clarity, lack of goals, feeling overwhelmed, physical conditions, and disruptive habits such as alcohol drinking, to name a few.

How do you improve morality?

Developing a strong morality is crucial as it guides us to give and have better judgments. Improving one’s character should always start with knowing what is right from wrong and what is good for you from what is not. Motivation enhancement therapies will also involve having high awareness and self-management.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy


Changing your habits in MET is always difficult but not entirely impossible (taken from the MET manual). Since you have had these current behaviors for a long time, you may tend to resist them at first. You may also doubt and worry about your capacity to achieve change.

But have patience in yourself and recognize this discomfort in MET. It may initially be a painful process, but it will get better. Rest assured that you will eventually enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

Is MET effective in people suffering from alcohol abuse?

As done in a study in Project MATCH, MET is for those dealing with substance abuse issues, lack of goals, and destructive behaviors. By working with a therapist who uses MET, you can take action to commit to change. Eventually, you will feel more empowered and excited about the future.

The therapy will begin by being aware of the present problem and how MET affects you. After which, it will be necessary to adjust your thoughts to facilitate change. Then, the therapists create evaluation progress as the therapy continues.

In MET it will be a long journey of ups and downs. Expect to encounter bumps and resistance along the way. But through MET and the therapist’s help, you will be able to overcome these hard times. With the application of reflective listening during the second session, hopefully, client motivation will improve as well to keep going with the stand-alone treatment.

Right now, you may be feeling uninspired and demotivated. But with the right therapy and guidance, this too will pass. Have confidence in yourself that you can change for the better.

More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the stages of motivational enhancement therapy?

Who introduced motivational enhancement therapy?

Is MET the same as CBT?

What is the purpose of MET?

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What is motivational psychology?

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Can MET be used for depression?

What are the stages of motivation?

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