Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) & Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Intervention Basics

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), initially developed to address the abuse of alcohol, has been adapted to address drug abuse. This treatment modality may work well with adolescents who do not attend therapy regularly or for only a limited number of sessions.

MET seeks to elicit behavior changes by resolving ambivalence and by utilizing intrinsic motivation, rather than the external motivation of family or treatment providers.

This treatment was built on Motivational Interviewing (MI), which strives to build intrinsic motivation to change substance abuse by resolving client ambivalence, evoking self-motivational statements, and commitment to change. MI focuses on “rolling with resistance” which responds, in a neutral way, to the client’s resistance to change, rather than contradicting or correcting the client.

Two phases are utilized during treatment sessions:

Phase One

  • Eliciting self-motivational statements
  • Listening with empathy
  • Questioning
  • Presenting feedback
  • Affirming the client
  • Reframing
  • Summarizing

Phase Two

  • Recognizing readiness to change
  • Discussing a plan
  • Communicating free choice
  • Discussing consequences of action and inaction
  • Providing information and advice in response to client questions
  • Emphasizing abstinence
  • Recapitulating (offering a broad summary)
  • Asking for commitment
Expectation of Sessions:
Includes one or more sessions, which treatment providers give feedback in a non-confrontational style. 

Recommended Populations

  • 18-25 (Young adult)
  • Male & Female
  • American Indian or Alaska Native; Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; and White
  • Inpatient; Residential; Outpatient; School
  • Urban; Suburban 

Special Considerations for Juvenile Drug Courts

MET was developed for Project Match, a national research endeavor by the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. The principles of this approach are based on Motivational Interviewing, and is the precursor to a manualized, adolescent-specific intervention known as MET/CBT 5. 

But, unlike MET/CBT 5 there is not a specific manual for the intervention. The intervention could be molded to address the needs of adolescents by a very skilled purveyor; however, that molding has occurred and produced successful outcomes through the use of MET/CBT 5.  

JDCs should keep in mind that this is not a manualized form of treatment for adolescents and protect against its overuse (i.e., youth attending treatment sessions far longer than they should just because they happen to be in a drug court program). 

Engagement Strategies 

If a treatment program working within a juvenile drug court program is utilizing MET as a form of treatment for the youth in the program, the court should ask targeted questions based on the information above:

  • Is the treatment program protecting against over-treatment?
  • Is the JDC program driving treatment (i.e., are youth merely attending sessions based on phase structure, rather than an individualized treatment plan)?
  • Would the JDC program have better outcomes if a manualized treatment was implemented? 

Implementation Requirements/Recommendations

Visit the MINT website to research costs and training opportunities.

For more detailed information regarding research and replications associated with the MET intervention, visit: