Motivational Interviewing for Mental Health Disorders
Motivational interviewing is an extremely useful tool for mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Research shows that motivational interviewing can be effective in managing a variety of behavioral health issues, including substance abuse, smoking cessation, depression and eating disorders.
People with substance use disorders often find developing the motivation to change very difficult. On the one hand, they can see the ways drugs and alcohol damage their health and well-being. On the other hand, the substances they use produce feelings of happiness that they fear cannot be achieved through other means.
Motivational interviewing does not try to minimize or avoid this conflict. Instead, treatment focuses on exploring the client’s view on this specific subject so they can weigh the pros and cons of continued use. Motivational interviewing for substance abuse utilizes empathy and support to develop discrepancy and strengthen the desire for recovery and sobriety in the individual.
Motivational interviewing for smoking cessation works in a very similar way as motivational interviewing for substance abuse. Tobacco, like other drugs, make someone feel good and encourages them to maintain the altered brain chemistry caused by nicotine dependence.
Deciding to stop smoking is difficult since many people view quitting smoking as an uncomfortable and risk-ridden process. A person may know that the benefits of stopping smoking are numerous while still fearing drawbacks like stress, weight gain and boredom.
Motivational interviewing therapy can be used to examine ambivalence on the subject while encouraging the person to believe in their own capacity for change and growth. Motivational interviewing treatment may involve the use of nicotine replacement therapies like gum or patches to aid in the process.
It may seem like motivational interviewing for depression would be much different than motivational interviewing for substance abuse or smoking, but the process is very similar. Like addiction, depression is a mental health condition that affects the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the individual, so motivational interviewing will target these aspects.
Someone with depression may engage in negative coping skills to manage the symptoms of their condition, including sex, self-injury and frivolous money spending. Motivational interviewing helps clients identify the discrepancy between these behaviors and the goal of happiness. The client will see that the path to recovery involves healthy, positive coping skills, rather than these negative behaviors.
Motivational interviewing for depression may also investigate problematic thought patterns a person has about themselves and the outside world that may be making them feel worse. The therapist’s empathy and attention to self-efficacy can help break this dangerous cycle of negative self-regard and pessimism.
Eating disorders are complex conditions that can pose significant dangers to an individual’s physical and mental health. Fortunately, motivational interviewing for eating disorders can help aid in treatment and recovery.
Motivational interviewing can start by looking at the behaviors associated with the eating disorder like binge eating, food restrictions and purging. Even though these actions are completed in the hopes of being happier and better looking, motivational interviewing can be used to illustrate how these behaviors don’t help the individual work toward achieving those goals.
In motivational interviewing, the client works with their therapist to establish new, healthier goals and identify what behaviors will help them meet those goals. Along the way, motivational interviewing will target the person’s flawed ways of thinking that underlie and motivate their eating disorder to reverse these thoughts and create a more appropriate self-image.