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Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Therapy

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Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) are brief evidence-based (meaning well researched), treatments used to draw out and strengthen one’s motivation for change. These treatments offer Veterans acceptance and compassion as they consider making changes in their lives. MI and MET therapists are accepting and compassionate and work with Veterans to explore values and goals. They focus on the Veteran's reasons for changing problem behaviors and openly discuss the mixed feelings that are a normal part of making changes. MI and MET help Veterans use their personal strengths to improve their lives.

What are MI and MET?

MI and MET are psychotherapies, or “talk therapies,” that usually take 1 to 4 sessions, each session about an hour long. MI and MET help Veterans to make treatment choices and to get the most out of the therapy they choose. MI can help Veterans develop healthier habits with regard to substance use, diet, exercise, management of chronic health problems (HIV, heart disease, diabetes), and reduction of risky behaviors (unprotected sex, gambling, and unsafe needle use). In VA, MET is used primarily with Veterans who are thinking about changing their use of alcohol or drugs. MI and MET work on their own or in combination with other treatments. MI and MET can make other treatments more effective by helping patients engage in treatment and improving their response to treatment.

What are the differences between MI and MET?

MI is goal-directed treatment and tailored to each Veteran’s problems and to the setting of care. It is available throughout mental health settings for treatment engagement and mental health recovery. MET is a more structured, specific version of MI that is offered in VA addiction treatment clinics. It is a treatment for Veterans who are considering a change in their use of alcohol or drugs. MET is brief, lasts about 2 to 4 sessions, and is sometimes offered at the start of another longer treatment. Veterans in MET complete an assessment to guide treatment. Therapists review these results with Veterans in an informational, tolerant way. The therapist encourages the Veteran come to his or her own conclusions about what the results means to them.

*This treatment may not be available at every VHA point of care. Please check with your VA provider.

LINKS & RESOURCES

Rethinking Drinking

Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA) Resources

NIH Publications - Parents

SMART Recovery

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