As therapists, we hear about Motivational Interviewing (MI) all the time. It’s a technique that therapists can use to bring forward the ambivalence that a person with an addiction has, towards resolving that addiction. It’s well regarded and it’s a fairly well-researched intervention for people with addictions, but still, a lot of the people looking for treatment, or even those who have been in treatment, don’t really seem to know what it is, or why we would use it in a treatment setting.

Today’s guest, Dr. Tony Mele, is the Chief Clinical Officer at  Sovereign Health. He’s on the show today because he came to our agency recently and did an incredible training on Motivational Interviewing, where he was able to really go in depth and look at how Motivational Interviewing actually works with the brain, to bring about change. Listen in to find out more about what Motivational Interviewing is all about and how it can be used effectively, within the treatment setting.

Show highlights:

  • Dr. Mele gives some important information about Motivational Interviewing.
  • Dr. Mele explains the ambivalence within people with addictions.
  • Many people with addictions will describe a loss when asked about what life without addiction would be like for them.
  • MI could be described as a language, to help the patient to begin looking at their own behavior differently.
  • Dr. Mele describes in practical terms, how one would converse with a patient, using MI to bring their contradictions to the forefront.
  • Dr. Mele explains cognitive dissonance, which you will wind up facing, as a therapist using MI.
  • If cognitive dissonance doesn’t come up in therapy, you will maintain the addiction, so as a therapist, you want the patient to feel the discomfort that it brings.
  • Working with the patient in the decision-making process.
  • The link between the emotional center (the amygdala) and the memory center (the hippocampus) in the brain.
  • Addiction produces a positive feeling, so as a therapist, you need to help the people to begin to think differently.
  • How MI differs from the ‘old school’ treatment.
  • Dopamine and addicted behavior.
  • The assumptions that are associated with the MI technique.
  • There is a fair amount of cognitive skill, which is required on the part of the patient, to effectively use MI.
  • Some examples of Motivational Interviewing questions.