Utilizing Evidence Based Practices

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Evidence based practices are treatment modalities that have been shown to be effective through research. Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are two evidence based practices for the treatment of substance use disorders. Both treatment modalities aim to create change. However, they take two different approaches to accomplish this goal. When combined, these treatment modalities give clients who are seeking recovery the best chance of success.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing, or MI, is a type of treatment that focuses on increasing motivation to change a behavior. MI is based on four main principles and highly relevant to counselors in the field of recovery.

Expressing Empathy

The first main principle of MI is expressing empathy while avoiding arguing. When counselors work to express empathy, they form a therapeutic alliance with the client which helps to establish trust. By demonstrating empathy towards clients, counselors provide a feeling of safety and understanding. This allows the client to open up further and possibly approach change.

Developing Discrepancy

Counselors can help build motivation for change by guiding clients to identify issues caused by their problematic behavior. This could take place by pointing out that it was the client’s drinking, not new management, that caused them to lose their job. Once a client can see their substance use has consequences, he or she develops more motivation for change.

Rolling with Resistance

Understanding that clients who are pushed hard too quickly will disengage in the treatment process is the basis of rolling with resistance. Resistance inevitably happens during the treatment process. By learning to navigate these points of stagnancy with compassion instead of frustration, counselors can be much more effective.

Supporting Self-Efficacy

By helping clients feel like they have an ally, a counselor supports self-efficacy. The client understands that someone believes in them and that they can achieve their goal, even if they don’t always believe in themselves.

Motivational Interviewing is an effective treatment modality for people with substance use disorders because its main goal is to create behavioral change. For people with substance use disorders, this change is recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a treatment modality that addresses the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT asserts that problematic behaviors are a result of negative feelings that result from irrational thoughts. According to CBT, if people want to change their behaviors, they need to learn how to change their negative feelings by changing their irrational thoughts. CBT works to help people challenge and change their irrational thoughts by using tools like automatic thought logs. Working with a counselor can help you.

When counselors work with clients with substance use disorders, the negative behavior they are trying to change is substance use. Some common feelings that perpetuate substance use disorders include anger, sadness, fear, and stress. These feelings result from irrational thoughts like “I’ll never be able to stay sober” and “I can’t live without substances.” Working with a counselor who is trained in CBT can help you challenge these irrational thoughts to begin feeling better and ultimately stop using substances.

If you are interested in working with a counselor who is knowledgeable of evidence based practices that can address your substance use disorder, contact Rehab After Work today.


Article Authored by Shaylyn Forte, LPC, CAADC