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How Motivational Enhancement Therapy Can Help You Stop Drinking

Motivational Enhancement Therapy, or MET, is a therapeutic approach that tries to help people find their own internal motivation to quit drinking. One common impediment to sobriety is that people are often not sure whether they want to quit. This is perplexing to an outsider who sees how destructive the addict’s behavior is, but the fact remains that if someone’s behavior is destructive and he does it anyway, he either gets something out of it or doesn’t think he can quit. MET is a way of helping someone see that he can quit and helping him discover the motivation to quit.

MET is designed to be a short and focused method of therapy. There is an initial battery of tests followed by two to four sessions with a therapist to discuss the results of the tests. The goal of these discussions is to increase motivation to quit and come up with a plan for recovery. These sessions are non-confrontational and non-judgmental. The therapist’s main task is to help you clarify your own values and motivations.

One particularly useful aspect of MET is that it can work for many levels of motivation, from the merely ambivalent, to the openly hostile. While not everyone is ready to confront his maladaptive thinking, most people are perfectly happy to tell you what they want and what’s important to them, and these are central to MET. If you you are already highly motivated, though, MET might be a bit redundant.

MET is often followed by some other therapeutic method. It provides the why but not the how. For some, the why may be enough, but most people need some help figuring out how to deal with stress, how to manage cravings, how to handle negative emotions, and so on. This may mean continuing therapy in a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, mode, perhaps even with the same therapist, going into a treatment program, or going to AA.

MET has shown the best results with alcohol and marijuana and mixed results for other drugs. It works best in combination with CBT and in a treatment setting. After all, it’s a little weird to think of someone who really did not want to quit seeking out motivational enhancement to quit. At best, you might expect it from someone who was ambivalent or knew quitting was the right thing but couldn’t quite overcome his resistance to change.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.