Individuals recovering from substance use disorders (SUDs) and dual diagnoses often have difficulty overcoming ambivalence surrounding rehabilitation and long-term sobriety. Bella Monte Recovery Center provides evidence-based modalities, including motivational interviewing (MI). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Motivational approaches are based on the principles of person-centered counseling.” MI can give you information and motivation to change unhealthy thought and behavioral patterns.

What Is Motivational Interviewing?

According to the previously mentioned research published by SAMHSA, “An essential element in motivational SUD interventions is helping people who misuse substances raise awareness of their values and hopes for a healthy life.” Motivational interviewing provides a safe space where you are encouraged to self-reflect and use your strengths and values to overcome challenges in recovery. The process of MI is a short-term treatment. Most people see significant changes in mood and thinking within the first four sessions, making it ideal for individuals in a rehabilitation program.

MI facilitates long-term positive changes through the following methods:

  • Empathetic communication that encourages self-reflection and acceptance
  • Avoiding conflict and focusing instead on positive change
  • Redirecting ambivalence or resistance to more positive motivations and solutions
  • Creating awareness of the consequences related to substance misuse
  • Focusing on hope, improving self-efficacy, and increasing confidence in the recovery process

You are supported and encouraged to make your own choices instead of being expected to meet specific therapeutic goals set by someone else. Unlike other forms of therapy, MI puts you in the driver’s seat and lets you determine the direction you take to heal and make changes.

5 Stages of Making Changes

The decision to achieve and maintain sobriety usually does not happen overnight. Instead, people often reach that goal gradually by going through several stages. Below are the five stages of change many people go through before and during motivational interviewing.

#1. Pre-Contemplation and Lack of Desire for Change

Someone who does not recognize a need for change is in the pre-contemplation stage of change. During this stage, it is essential to focus on the consequences of using maladaptive behaviors like substance misuse to cope with stressors.

#2. Contemplation of Change and Feelings of Ambivalence

Someone who sees the value in change but does not feel confident of the need for change or their ability to see it through contemplates the idea of change without taking any actions. Most people in this stage are interested in recovery but feel comfortable where they are and may not be motivated enough to take action.

#3. Determination to Change

The stage of determination often comes after a period of treatment. Individuals who have decided to go through with positive lifestyle changes begin to plan how they can meet their new goals.

#4. Actively Changing Behaviors

Rehabilitation programs like those offered at Bella Monte Recovery Center use various therapeutic tools to help you actively make positive changes to your thought and behavioral patterns. Reaching this stage can happen at any point in the recovery process and is often marked by significant changes in self-awareness and self-efficacy.

#5. Maintaining Change Through Sustainable Routines

MI gives you the tools to create and maintain sustainable routines that improve your mental health. Many people continue to attend individual therapy sessions after completing rehabilitation to keep receiving support in maintaining their sobriety.

What Are the Benefits of Motivational Interviewing?

MI uses your personal strengths and values to motivate long-term change and reveal solutions to issues that interfere with recovery. The benefits of motivational interviewing include:

  • Increased self-efficacy, self-awareness, and self-esteem
  • Improved communication
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Increased positivity

Unlike many other behavioral modification therapies, MI focuses on positivity, self-improvement, and preventative strategies.

How Does Motivational Interviewing Change Behaviors?

Recovery is about looking forward and building a healthier future. You can use MI tools to motivate yourself and envision a future without substance misuse. The following are a few ways MI encourages behavioral changes:

  • Making it clear what consequences an individual would face if they do not change
  • Giving an alternative perspective that can increase insight and self-awareness
  • Providing a safe space for analyzing personal values, motivations, and goals

Behavioral changes require dedication, motivation, and a strategy to avoid backsliding. According to SAMHSA, “Reflecting clients’ hopes and values in contrast to the negative effects of their substance use behaviors is essential for promoting awareness and internal motivation to change.”

Replacing maladaptive behaviors and thought patterns is easier when you can talk the change through with someone who has an outside, objective perspective. You can use MI to find new ways to cope with stressors, emotional situations, symptoms and side effects of SUD, depression, anxiety, cravings, and intrusive thoughts.

Mental health treatment is a cornerstone of our rehabilitation programs at Bella Monte Recovery Center. We use a broad range of therapeutic modalities to ensure our clients have the support they need to achieve and maintain sobriety and positive mental health during long-term recovery. Motivational interviewing is a therapy that works quickly over a short period. Many people feel more confident, motivated, and self-aware after only a handful of sessions, making it ideal for SUD treatment programs. MI can help you make healthy life changes by showing you ways to focus on hope, positive values, and your existing strengths. Many people experience more profound self-discovery after participating in MI, which often facilitates lasting changes. We use motivational interviewing alongside other treatments and therapies to ensure the best possible outcome for every client. To learn more about our facility, services, and programs, contact us today by calling (800) 974-1938.