According to the World Health Organization, one out of every seven teenagers aged 10 to 19, experiences some form of mental health disorder. These mental health disorders include behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Up to 20 percent of teenagers struggle with depression, and this number is rising from one year to the next. 

These mental health conditions can lead a teenager to commit suicide or to make an attempt. Suicide is rising among teenagers between the ages of 16 and 24, and it’s the second leading cause of death for this age group. When a parent or loved one has an adolescent struggling with a mental health disorder, it might be hard for them to know what to do next. 

Motivational Interviewing

What Is Motivational Interviewing in Massachusetts?

Motivational interviewing is a therapy that strives to help a person with confused feelings or extreme views about themselves to reshape their narrative. They learn to create a more healthy, positive view of things. Started in the early 1980s, this therapy technique was initially designed to help patients with a substance abuse disorder. 

Through the decades, motivational interviewing has helped people struggling with addiction, so its use has expanded to other mental health disorders. The goal is to help the patient realize their ambivalent thought process. And also adopt a new motivational one that can lead to a change in behaviors and thought processes. 

This type of therapy is done through a conversation between the therapist and the patient. At the core, this is a method of talk therapy. The patient needs to be willing to engage in open and honest communication to enjoy the possible benefits of motivational interviewing and for the success of the disorder treatment. 

Motivational interviewing for teens can help them see situations and ways that view the words of others and see them in a more positive light. This can help the teen adjust their behaviors and increase their self-esteem.

Motivational Interviewing

What to Expect During Motivational Interviewing

When a person seeks therapy for a mental health disorder or a substance abuse problem, it’s always good that they understand what to expect during their therapy sessions. There are several techniques that the patient should expect during the motivational interviewing for adolescents, including:

  • Answering open-ended questions: To succeed with this type of therapy, the patient must communicate openly and avoid rushing to judgment. The therapist will ask questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer, which is a skill a certified clinician must have. This creates a conversation about the patient’s feelings and thought process that the therapist guides to get the best benefits. 
  • Provide self-motivational statements: One of the goals is for the patient to start providing statements that encourage motivation. Ultimately, the motivation should help the patient make positive changes in their thoughts and behaviors. The therapist does this by deep diving into statements made by the patient and asking for examples. 
  • Reflective listening: While the patient answers the open-ended question, the therapist needs to be an active listener and make responsive comments to the patient. 
  • Reframe the narrative: As the patient answers the questions, the therapist might note that the patient has negative responses to many of their interactions. The therapist encourages the patient to look at the conversation from the other person’s point of view to try and view the interaction as positive. 
  • Affirmations: Affirmations are statements that the patient says aloud several times each day to build confidence in themselves. The therapist will work with the patient to create the statements that they believe will bring positive change.

The patient can experience real change if they’re open and honest with their therapist.

Motivational Interviewing

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Benefits of Motivational Interviewing in Massachusetts

The parents or a guardian considering motivational interviewing for an adolescent wants to know the benefits of this type of therapy and what they are. Some of these benefits include:

  • The therapist can help the patient picture and strive for a future that’s free of their current issues, whether it’s a mental health disorder or an addiction to drugs or alcohol. If they can see this future, they can achieve it. 
  • The therapy helps the patient build confidence within themselves and begin to trust themselves and their feelings. 
  • Clients learn how to take responsibility for their own behaviors and actions. 
  • As the therapy progresses, the client learns to become more open to therapy, and this helps them make the progress they need to make. 

Motivational interviewing for teens can help them see their actions and those of others in a new light, which will help them adjust their own behavior and thought processes.

What Can Motivational Interviewing Treat?

When motivational interviewing was a new method of therapy, it was used primarily to help people struggling with substance use disorders. Therapists began using this treatment to help others struggling with mental health disorders and even some physical ailments. Some of these include:

Motivational interviewing helps adolescents gain confidence in their ability to make decisions and cope with their daily stressors. If a person feels like they might benefit from motivational interviewing, they might discuss it with their current therapist. Or they can look for a treatment center that already offers it as an option with the support of a qualified clinician.

Get Motivational Interviewing at Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness

When a parent or guardian of a teenager struggling with mental health issues wants to help, they need to find the right program and treatment method. Motivational interviewing for adolescents is a popular and successful option as long as the teen works with the right group. 

At the Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness, we’re proud of the motivational interviewing for teens treatment we’ve crafted. Our therapies and team provides the care and compassion an adolescent needs in an outpatient setting to improve and make positive strides in their lives. We use evidence-based therapies to help teens learn healthy coping skills. 

Clinically Reviewed by:

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Melanie Carbonneau is the Clinical Director at Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness and is a licensed counselor and certified music therapist with a Ph.D. from Lesley University. She leads MCAW with a focus on holistic care, emphasizing the importance of family and community involvement in the healing process.