Motivational Enhancement Therapy: Definition, Techniques, and Efficacy

As well as being a highly-effective, modern therapy that empowers the patient, MET is also practical. MET is endorsed by the US military for those with alcohol problems because it is so effective. However, the therapist can encourage the patient to reflect on their decisions.

Our approach was influenced by the principles of motivational interviewing (MI) and developed to be implemented in various settings. At the end of intervention post level of self-efficacy were measured through self-efficacy scale (SES). Pre and post-test with control design were used .Study period between April 2018 and April 2019. Modified Kuppuswamy Socioeconomic Status Scale, Alcohol use disorder identification test, Self-Efficacy Scale as tools were used.

What Is Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)?

Once a person in therapy has clarified any concerns, the therapist may focus on the options available for addressing those concerns. Treatment options are not prescribed; rather, they are elicited from the individual. For example, a therapist may ask, “What do you think you can do about this problem? This plan outlines desired changes, the reasons change is desired, and the steps the individual will take in order to achieve change.

MET focuses on increasing intrinsic motivation by raising awareness of a problem, adjusting any self-defeating thoughts regarding the problem, and increasing confidence in one’s ability to change. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is a short-term technique used in the treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders. This approach to treatment focuses on helping people to feel more motivated to change their destructive, harmful behavior. MET is a therapy designed to quickly produce internally motivated change (Miller, 1992). Based on motivational psychology, MET uses a combination of assessments, goal setting, and motivational interviewing to move a client from ambivalence about their recovery to a mindset of change. Most clients in the beginning of therapy are in precontemplation or contemplation stage of change.

What Is MET Used For?

The nonconfrontational and non-judgmental style adopted by therapists also makes MET an effective approach in the treatment of adolescents who may be experiencing identity issues and/or trying to assert their independence. MET is designed to help people work through their ambivalence about change, primarily through the use of active listening and gentle feedback techniques. In brief, the goal is to prepare people for change, not necessarily to push them into changing right away.

motivational enhancement therapy

Motivational enhancement therapy is characterized as a directive, client-centered intervention which helps in modification of behavior by helping subjects in identifying and resolving the ambivalence toward a change in self. In order to free one from the vicious cycle of the alcohol trap one needs self-efficacy, which serves a protective role to prevent from relapses. The study aims to assess and compare the effectiveness of MET on the self-efficacy of individuals pre and posttest with control design were applied. MET is often used as part of a complete addiction treatment program with several other behavioral therapies, including 12-step programs and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). These therapies use specific techniques to guide patients through behavioral change. For example, CBT focuses primarily on teaching patients coping strategies for stress, while 12-step programs outline specific steps to help those in need get and stay sober.

Principles and Techniques

We provide positive reinforcement and help clients set achievable milestones, ultimately building their confidence in their capacity to modify behaviors and make healthier life choices. Here, we present the assessment findings to the client, highlighting the effects of substance Step 1 of AA: Admitting You’re Powerless Over Alcohol use on their well-being. This is a crucial step where we strive to increase the client’s awareness of the potential consequences of their actions and sow the seeds for the desire to change. There are 5 critical elements of MET that patients and therapists will work through.

Its aim is to provide the client with the opportunity to develop a focus in their life, other than their addiction. It has been shown to be particularly effective when an individual has a strong resistance to change or is not strongly motivated to change. An example of this is in the case of substance abuse, as individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol may often find it difficult to stop using due to the reinforcing effects of these habits. MET’s focus on rapid change also makes it suitable for cases where the therapist has only limited contact with an individual.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques to create lasting behavior change. MET is a behavioral intervention designed to help clients with substance use disorders. Motivational Enhancement Therapies (METs) are interventions based on the MI approach and practices. MET for alcohol dependence may involve exploring the negative effects of alcohol, examining the individual’s readiness to change, and building a recovery plan. Treatment is personalized to heighten awareness of the risks and to empower the individual in pursuing sobriety.

Similarly, a different study showed that MET could positively impact motivation and feelings of self-efficacy. Essentially, MET can be productive in helping individuals begin a journey of change. Healthcare professionals use MET to identify reasons for and against change and build motivation for taking steps in a positive direction.


The therapist may also ask an individual about short-term and long-term goals and evaluate any ways that a problem behavior may interfere with those goals. The therapy consists of an initial assessment battery, followed by a limited number of highly structured sessions. Throughout the MET process, therapists monitor clients’ progress towards their goals and provide ongoing support and encouragement.

motivational enhancement therapy