Motivational Interviewing

Teenagers can get fed up with adults telling them what to do because when they believe they know best. Due to self-esteem issues, they are willing to do anything to fit in. As a result, many teenagers defy authority and engage in actions that have adverse effects.

One of the most effective strategies to guide teens on the correct path is to use Motivational Interviewing. In this kind of treatment, the approaches and ideas encourage change in teens rather than implying that you are attempting to fix them.

Motivational Interviewing

Teenagers can get fed up with adults telling them what to do because when they believe they know best. Due to self-esteem issues, they are willing to do anything to fit in. As a result, many teenagers defy authority and engage in actions that have adverse effects.

One of the most effective strategies to guide teens on the correct path is to use Motivational Interviewing. In this kind of treatment, the approaches and ideas encourage change in teens rather than implying that you are attempting to fix them.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a therapy technique used by clinicians to help patients modify their behavior. Many people believe that they will instantly stop when they learn about dangerous behavior. This is not always true. Evidence, on the other hand, suggests that this is very exceptional. Even if people are aware that they need to change their behavior, this does not ensure they will or want to.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) may be helpful in overcoming these hurdles. The therapist assists the patient in eliminating harmful, dangerous habits or creating new, good ones using an evidence-based technique of asking open-ended questions. Motivational Interviewing’s major goal is to encourage the patient to adapt independently. It is particularly beneficial to hesitant, ambivalent, or sensitive patients about their difficulties. Teenagers display most of these traits. Therefore, it is no surprise that this kind of therapy is advised for them in Southern California.

What Does Motivational Interviewing Treat?

Although motivational interviewing was developed with addiction in mind, we may use its concepts to treat a wide range of mental and physical health concerns like:

  • Gambling Addiction. 
  • Illicit drug abuse.
  • Depression.
  • Prescription drug abuse.
  • Anxiety.
  • Pornography or sexual addictions.

Techniques Used During Motivational Interviewing Sessions

Experts use motivational interviewing to help teens discover their motives and sentiments. There are four essential methods they use to do this.

Counselors use open-ended inquiries to elicit information, exhibit support and respect via affirmations, demonstrate empathy through reflections, and summarize knowledge by grouping information.

  • Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are those you can’t simply say “yes” or “no” to. Questions like this urge you to go a little further into a subject.

Therapists may discover more about a teen by asking questions that begin with “how” or “what.” The following are some examples of open-ended questions:

“If you could change anything, what would you want to see?”

“What have you done in the past to try to fix this?”

“What can you tell me about your relationship with your parents?”

  • Affirmations

Affirmations are words made to people to let them know that they are doing things right and their qualities are being recognized. Affirmations, when used correctly, may contribute to a person’s increased faith in their capacity to adapt and grow.

A few examples of positive responses or affirmations are:

“It’s apparent that you’re a resourceful individual.”

“You did a great job in that scenario.”

“It’s wonderful to have you here today. I understand that reaching out for assistance might be difficult.”

“This was a brave thing for you to do, and I’m grateful.”

  • Reflective Listening

One of the most important skills therapists utilize is reflective listening. Teenagers feel more confident in their therapy when they sense their therapist listens to them with an open mind. Additionally, it allows the customer to clarify any misconceptions or express their true thoughts.

Therapists must demonstrate empathy via reflection to get the best results from motivational interviewing.

benefits-of-motivational-interviewing

How Motivational Interviewing Works

Motivational interviewing consists of four steps and aims to dispel teenagers’ concerns about modifying their bad behaviors. Here’s how it works:

Engaging

The first step in the MI process is establishing a therapeutic relationship based on the parties’ shared trust and regard for one another. Patients have a greater propensity to resist change since it is difficult to communicate openly with therapists they lack confidence in. 

Therefore, therapists invest time and effort into creating a welcoming and secure atmosphere by displaying the appropriate body language and genuine kindness. In addition, they steer clear of referring to their patient in front of them as a “patient,” “an expert,” or as “solving the problem.” All of these behaviors are discouraging to potential patients.

Focusing

The next step is for the doctor treating the adolescent patient and the patient to decide together on a specific problem to focus on. At this time, a treatment strategy is outlined in great detail for the patient. Sessions are more likely to remain on track and on time when they concentrate on a particular topic.

If a patient has a particular concern they want to discuss, a clinician has two options. The option of either guiding the patient toward that issue or assisting the patient in making their own decision about it. On the other hand, patients could come in well aware of the issues that need to be addressed. When dealing with a patient in this condition, the therapist will, for the most part, just carry out the patient’s instructions.

Evoking

After the patient and the physician have reached a consensus on the nature of the issue, the next step is to determine the rationale behind the patient’s desire for a modification. At this stage, the therapist’s responsibility is to encourage the patient to engage in “change talk.” “Change talk” is a phrase that describes communication that inspires someone to go on a different path. The following are examples of people having change conversations:

  • “Deep down, I want to be able to put a stop to this.”
  • “It would be in everyone’s best interest if I…”
  • “I’m all set to get things going.”

If teenagers take part in “change talk,” there is a greater chance that they will alter their patterns of behavior. If patients initiate “change discussion” on their own, there is a greater chance they may take the initiative to make changes independently. Teenage patients might not be ready to discuss making changes at this stage. Hence, therapists induce it by asking the following questions:

  • What are the benefits that come with making changes in one’s life?
  • What motivates you to desire to make a change in your life?
  • What would it take to make a change?

Planning

The final phase of motivational interviewing focuses on the patient developing a plan of action, which is a crucial aspect of this phase. The physicians and the teens in treatment need to agree on a plan that meets all of the following criteria:

  • It must be measurable
  • It must be feasible
  • It must be feasible
  • It must have a defined timeframe

Typically, at this point in the process, the teenager has attained a level of self-assurance over their capacity to carry out the plan and stays motivated to do so.

For more details on motivational interviewing for teens in Southern California, you can reach out to the Hillside Horizon for Teens team. We have a team of experts who understand teenagers and are ready to help them change very harmful behaviors.