Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a client-centered, directive, and brief psychotherapeutic approach designed to enhance an individual’s motivation and commitment to change problematic behaviors. Developed by psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. MET is often used to address issues such as substance abuse, addiction, and other behaviors that require significant motivation for change.

Here are key points about Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET):

  1. Collaborative and Non-Confrontational:
    MET is characterized by a collaborative and non-confrontational style. The therapist works with the individual to explore their ambivalence about change, without imposing judgments or directives.
  1. Express Empathy:
    Therapists practicing MET aim to express empathy, understanding, and unconditional positive regard for the client’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings. This creates a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship.
  1. Develop Discrepancy:
    MET encourages individuals to examine the discrepancy between their current behaviors and their goals or values. This process highlights the need for change and the potential benefits of making that change.
  1. Roll with Resistance:
    Instead of confronting resistance head-on, MET therapists “roll with resistance,” which means they avoid arguing with or challenging the individual’s resistance. This approach reduces defensiveness and fosters open discussion.
  1. Support Self-Efficacy:
    MET emphasizes the importance of supporting an individual’s self-efficacy, or belief in their ability to change. Therapists help clients recognize their strengths and past successes, boosting their confidence.
  1. Feedback and Reflection:
    MET often includes feedback and reflection on the consequences of the problematic behavior. This feedback is presented in a non-judgmental manner, allowing the client to assess their own experiences.
  1. Goal Setting:
    MET helps individuals set specific and achievable goals for behavior change, making the process of change more manageable and concrete.
  1. Client-Centered Approach:
    MET respects the client’s autonomy and self-determination, allowing them to take the lead in identifying what changes they want to make in their life.
  1. Brief and Structured: MET is typically a short-term intervention, often consisting of just a few sessions. The structured nature of MET provides a focused and time-efficient approach to motivating change.
  1. Applicability:
    While MET is frequently utilized for substance use disorders, it can adapt to addressing various behaviors and issues requiring motivation for change, like diet and exercise, smoking cessation, or adherence to medical recommendations.


In summary, Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a client-centered and non-confrontational approach that aims to increase an individual’s motivation and commitment. MET fosters a collaborative, empathetic relationship, helping individuals address ambivalence, desire change, and set goals for transformation. It is particularly effective in addressing substance use disorders and has proven adaptable for various other issues.

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