Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

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Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is a powerful tool used to develop and evoke internally motivated change. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, the path to recovery can seem long, arduous, and sometimes impossible. MET helps people learn how to build confidence and change thoughts, habits, and patterns of behavior.

In this article, we will explain the history, benefits and prospects of using Motivational Enhancement Therapy during addiction and dual diagnosis treatment.

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)?

MET found prominence in 1993 during a clinical trial initiated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The treatment modality proved to be successful in treating alcohol addiction and is now used to effectively treat all forms of substance use disorder.

MET is based on a combination of motivational psychology and the techniques of motivational interviewing, a type of counseling style developed by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. These techniques form a type of talking therapy that focuses on the structure and analysis of an individual’s addictive behaviors.

The main goal of MET is to help you overcome any feelings of resistance or uncertainty to behavior change. The therapy aims to increase awareness of the issues addiction causes in your life. Through encouraging acceptance of the problem, MET aims to boost confidence, combat self-defeatist thoughts, and increase motivation for the recovery journey.

At United Recovery CA, we employ MET in conjunction with our range of therapeutic treatments. Although MET can be used as a stand-alone treatment, we find that it is most effective when used as a motivating force alongside cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and as part of the 12-step method.

MET also offers patients with alcohol and substance addictions the opportunity to re-socialize. For many recovering addicts, their interpersonal relations may have reduced to exist purely between their dealer and other users.

They may have broken down relationships with family members and friends they were once close to. The therapeutic environment offers a space to improve communication and rebuild relationships and provide a unique platform for family therapy treatments.

The Principles of Motivational Enhancement Therapy

We understand that entering recovery can be a daunting concept. Perhaps change seems intolerable, or perhaps it is not even something you strive for. MET will support you while exploring these feelings and uncovering the root causes of resistance to change. There are five critical elements of change within the MET structure that clients and therapists work through together:

  • Developing and expressing empathy – Empathy is a powerful emotion as it connects you to others. MET teaches you to develop empathic qualities and understand how your actions affect those around you.
  • Recognizing the disparity between thoughts and reality – Addiction is a complex and debilitating disease that affects our brains and neural pathways. Clients often find it difficult to acknowledge the extent of their addiction and to accept how powerless they are to cravings. Learning to see the difference between reality and our perception of it allows for conscious decision making and change to occur.
  • Avoiding arguments – Conflict and relational breakdown is, unfortunately, a common side effect of addiction. You will be encouraged to develop transparent, positive, and clear communication skills to help build positive support networks.
  • Self-efficacy – Those in addiction often have low levels of self-esteem and self-worth, which serve to hinder their recovery. MET helps you discover your inner strength and have confidence in your ability to reach your goals.
  • Accepting resistance as part of the process – In this stage, therapists engage with clients on an in-depth personal level, investigating how their resistance to change is impacting their goals, health, and relationships.

Do You Need Help?

We offer initial assessment and advice via phone or contact form.

Motivational Enhancement in Treating Substance Use Disorder & Addiction

Studies have consistently proven the efficacy of MET in increasing one’s motivation to abstain from drugs as well as reducing the severity of substance use and lengthening periods between relapse.

This therapy aims to boost confidence and is non-confrontational and non-judgmental in its treatment style. We find that our clients respond positively to this empathic approach as we recognize that change can be daunting at any stage of life.

Those struggling with addiction and substance use disorder find it challenging to stop using substances due to the nature of dependency and the reinforcing actions of their behaviors. MET places an emphasis on rapid change instead of a step-by-step process. The momentum which MET provides instills motivation, inspiration, and enthusiasm for the journey ahead.

The therapist supports you every step of the way, acting as a guide, carer, and mentor and helps you face each challenge with positivity and determination.

Motivation Therapy in People With Addiction and Co-occurring Disorders

At United Recovery CA, we understand that you may be in a vulnerable and overwhelmed state of mind when you seek treatment. Addiction has likely posed serious consequences in your life, health, and relationships, and employment may have suffered as a consequence.

It is common for those suffering from substance use disorder to have co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, trauma disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders. These may have instigated the turn towards substances in an attempt to alleviate psychological discomfort, or they may have arisen as a result of the substance’s effect on the brain, body, and overall quality of life. Additionally, while decreasing or abstaining from substance use, other addictions may emerge, such as sex, gambling, shopping, or food.

Any mental health disorders will be treated using the same motivational style to reframe any resistance you may have and to set goals that act to inspire.

How to Successfully Utilize Feedback during Addiction Recovery?

Feedback is an essential component of successful therapy because it provides a broader range of feedback than if you were in individual therapy. It also gives you more opportunities to learn and practice new skills. You may probably hear feedback that doesn’t resonate well with you.

It’s important to remember not to take feedback too personally, but this can be not easy if you are very sensitive or if you have been overly criticized. If you are too defensive, you are likely to miss out on some crucial insights into your life. Feeling hurt or defensive is valid, too, so don’t be afraid to share these feelings.

Try to acknowledge and appreciate the person who is giving you the feedback. Sometimes, it’s helpful to find out if the other members share the same sentiments in a safe, controlled setting. If you aren’t getting any feedback, ask for it. If you can’t ask for it, try giving feedback yourself. Sometimes this can elicit feedback from others.

The Dos and Don’ts of Therapy


  • Be as open as possible. Even though it might feel impossible to open up, the more you share, the more you can be helped.
  • Give feedback, but be sensitive about your approach. Be specific, but also be kind.
  • Listen to feedback.


  • not asking questions.
  • Over-prepare and rehearse, which can lead you to rely too much on stories that have the desired outcome. Rather than be authentic, be aware of the dynamics of the sessions and share accordingly.

How We Can Help with Motivational Enhancement Therapy

MET is particularly effective when an individual has a strong resistance to change. It is particularly suitable for those with substance use disorder at the start of the recovery journey in conjunction with our detoxification and residential inpatient programs.

If you or a loved one wishes to incorporate MET into their tailored treatment plan, we will arrange an initial session with one of our specialist therapists. It is important for both therapist and client to feel comfortable and confident that a positive rapport can be formed.

After this initial assessment, we offer four targeted treatment sessions. Each session is unique and personalized to meet your individual needs. The early sessions focus on understanding your history, life story, issues, concerns, and resistance to change. This information will be evaluated, and insight into how your views and behaviors differ from the wider population will be discussed.

The therapist then assists with the creation of a change plan, setting goals and examining how current behaviors might prevent those aspirations from being met. The later sessions provide you with insight, perspective, positive reinforcement, and tools to help prevent relapse.

Meet your recovery team

The recovery journey is unique and personal to everyone. Our team are highly trained professionals who set United Recovery CA apart due to their expertize, and each staff member brings their unique knowledge and experience to addiction treatment. They provide a safe environment to provide the ideal start of your addiction recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is motivational enhancement therapy confrontational?

No. This therapy aims to boost confidence and is non-confrontational and non-judgmental in its treatment style. The therapist supports the individual every step of the way, acting to guide, care, and mentor, and helping the client face each challenge with positivity and determination.

Does (United Recovery CA) offer motivational therapies?

At United Recovery CA, we employ MET in conjunction with our range of therapeutic treatments. Although MET can be used as a stand-alone treatment, we find that it is most effective when used as a motivating force alongside cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and as part of the 12-step method.

What can motivational therapy be used for?

MET is commonly used for those suffering from mental health conditions including substance use disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders.

Are motivational interviewing and motivational enhancement therapy the same?

No, they are different concepts. MET uses the techniques of motivational interviewing but incorporates motivation psychology methodology also. These combined modes form a style of therapy that focuses on structure and analysis, forming a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s addictive behaviors.

Can I decline MET sessions?

Yes. All of our therapeutic treatment programs are tailored to meet the individual’s needs. If a particular treatment is not agreed to the treatment assistants will collaboratively select a more beneficial therapy option during the admissions process.

Do You Need Help?

If you’re looking for addiction help – our team of experts will help you find the needed support.
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