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How effective is motivational enhancement therapy at treating addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Studies are backing up motivational enhancement therapy (a catch-all term for techniques that attempt to boost motivation) for the treatment of addiction. Six federally funded, multisite studies concluded that motivational interviewing was better than standard community treatment for drug problems and dependence on several measures, including reducing drug use and sticking with treatment. Findings from Project MATCH (Matching Alcoholism Treatments to Client Heterogeneity) also found motivational enhancement therapies helpful for alcoholism. For quitting smoking, motivational therapy was most likely to help when sessions with a clinician lasted at least 20 minutes, and when the patient saw the therapist multiple times rather than just once.

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