When a loved one or a close friend is struggling with a problem that he or she won’t address, you want to do everything that you can to help. However, people are often very defensive when confronted with their own harmful behaviors and may altogether deny that they have a problem. Alternatively, they may acknowledge that they have a problem, but they won’t be open to getting help. They will offer reasons why they don’t need help to deal with a problem or even cite examples of how well they are currently dealing with it. No matter how an individual’s attitude seems about whether they have a problem, he or she simply won’t be receptive to help that seems critical or derogatory.
Motivational Interviewing may be helpful to people struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders, anger management and some mental health conditions.
The Fundamentals of Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing is a process by which you can use guided questioning to help people analyze their behaviors and identify the ways in which those behaviors are harmful. Without expressing judgment or telling people what they need to do, this technique empowers people to reframe their perspective and arrive at their own conclusions. You can ask them about what’s happening, how it’s affecting them, how it’s affecting their goals.
Using Motivational to Help Individuals Struggling with Substance Dependency
Motivational interviewing can be an extremely helpful tool for helping individuals who need to pursue substance abuse treatment. When a traditional intervention has failed, the result is typically a fight or flight response. However, when you take on an approach of asking people about how their substance use is affecting them and the people who they love rather than simply telling them that what they’re doing is wrong, it becomes more of an open dialog and it feels like less of attack. People will become more willing to be an active participant in the conversation, and they’ll engage in meaningful self-analysis rather than running away or lashing out defensively. When presented with the choice of getting treatment, they can more easily arrive at their own conclusions about why treatment is necessary.
Other Applications for Motivational Interviewing
In addition to substance abuse treatment, motivational interviewing can help individuals who are coping with other types of difficult addictions such as a gambling addiction. Likewise, it can be a useful tool for helping people who are struggling with self-destructive behaviors such as eating disorders or an anger management disorder as well as individuals who need to seek treatment for an unaddressed mental health condition.
Motivational Interviewing and Harm Reduction
When somebody appears unwilling to make significant changes regarding a harmful behavior, you can ask the person about changes he or she is willing to make. If somebody isn’t ready to eliminate a harmful behavior, he or she may be willing to modify it to lessen the negative effect that it has. This is sometimes referred to as harm reduction; rather than completely stopping something harmful, somebody may be willing to change what they are doing gradually or reduce the frequency with which he or she is doing it. Motivational interviewing is an effective way to probe an individual’s receptiveness to harm reduction as a means of initiating change.
Have you or a loved one participated in motivational interviewing?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
“PIN & SHARE”