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Motivational Enhancement Therapy

To make an appointment, please call (212) 305-6001 or submit our online form.

Facts to Know

  • Motivational Enhancement Therapies (MET) are a collaborative approach to identifying and encouraging behavioral change.
  • Motivational Enhancement uses Motivational Interviewing (MI), which is an evidenced based approach that helps individuals with substance use disorders resolve mixed feelings about substances and make change.
  • MET involves four key components: empathy/validation; developing discrepancy; rolling with resistance; and supporting a person’s belief that they can make a change.

What is Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)?

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a therapeutic approach aimed at helping individuals identify and resolve ambivalence regarding alcohol and other drug use. Also referred to as motivational interviewing, MET focuses on increasing motivation and setting goals. This therapeutic approach involves an assessment followed by several (3-6) weekly sessions encouraging discussion surrounding substance use and evoking change talk or motivational statements. MET strategies include setting goals, planning for change, and encouraging internal motivation. Individuals are often encouraged to bring a significant other and/or loved one to session to help facilitate this process. The therapist works alongside the individual to monitor change, identify triggers, and review coping and cessation strategies. The goal of MET is to resolve ambivalence and help an individual make change to their substance use patterns.

How does MET work?

MET involves addressing four key components through a therapeutic approach:

  1. Empathy: The therapist uses empathy through reflective listening. This is to encourage understanding, build rapport, and recognize that change is difficult. This part of therapy is also known as engaging.
  2. Developing Discrepancy: The therapist helps the individual to identify goals and values and how current behaviors might be interfering with these goals and values. The therapist and patient work together to identify target behaviors they might like to change. This part of therapy is also known as focusing.
  3. Rolling with Resistance: MET approaches work to avoid direct confrontation. Instead of fighting resistance, ambivalence is part of the process and something to be curious about. During this phase, “change talk” is elicited and reinforced.
  4. Developing autonomy and self-efficacy: This is often the planning phase of therapy. Specific strategies to plan for change and to manage crises and pitfalls that get in the way of change are explored. Commitment and goal setting can often be shared with another family member in session to help reinforce change.

Why would I consider MET?

MET has been found to be superior to standard community treatment in reducing alcohol/drug use and staying in treatment. MET can help to encourage individuals to become motivated to make healthier choices and changes to the patterns of their substance use. It is a collaborative and client-centered approach.

How Can I Receive Treatment for Substance Use Disorders at Columbia?

At ColumbiaDoctors, we provide individual and group treatment with providers who specialize in Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Therapy and can provide treatment tailored to each patient’s individual needs and goals. Motivational Enhancement Therapy can also be coupled with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) when appropriate, for an ideal and holistic treatment approach. The Smithers Center is a specialized service offered by ColumbiaDoctors that provides treatment for those who are looking to change their substance use and have co-occurring mental health conditions.

Search our providers for a therapist or psychiatrist with expertise in MET.

To make an appointment, please call 212-305-6001 or submit our online form.

Featured Provider:

Aimee E. Chiligiris, PsyD