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A recent news release found that high risk students who have been involved with drugs and or alcohol abuse can benefit from motivational interventions. It is thought that the actual session is helpful, regardless of the content provided within. One expert says that the sessions give the students a chance to observe some of the issues that are surrounding their problems. These sessions give the students time to speak with a motivational interventionist and discuss any questions that they might have or talk about their problems.

What is the MI (motivational intervention) approach?

It has been shown that a lot of the programs which are designed to reduce these alcohol related behaviors in teens simply do not work! MI seems to be different. MI uses a non-confrontational, collaborative means by which to talk to teens about their drinking or drug use. Since the teen is treated as an adult and is given decisions to make and is involved in the decision making process they are less likely to resist authority, which is common for children their age.

The Motivational Intervention approach is tailored to the individual needs of each person. The teen is assessed to see where he or she is at motivationally and is created to meet their specific needs. One example is for a teen who has been known to drink heavily and who has experienced the negative consequences of his or her actions, but has not given enough thought to how to change the behavior, a motivational interventionist would work with the teens on increasing awareness of the consequences and the current and future risk involved.

Where can I get find an MI program?

You can look for resources about local MI on the web or you can seek guidance from your child's school counselor. The department of Human Services may also know of programs in your area. The local police are always a good resource for information about these motivational intervention programs.

Is it Expensive?

The MI approach recognizes that for some money may be the reason that they do not seek help since rehabilitation facilities are expensive and are usually not covered by insurance. The MI approach is commonly done by undergraduates of a rehabilitation program or by trained non-professionals. Therefore the cost of these interventions is much less expensive. Costing only a fraction of what a rehabilitation facility would cost.

The five R's of the MI approach.

Motivational Intervention is based on five principles that seem to be getting the job done!

1. Relevance.

It is important for the individual to know why he or she wants to change the behavior. They should recognize the consequences and know how those consequences are relevant to them and their personal situation. Relevance is the personal aspect of the MI approach.

2. Risks

Educate the individual about the risks involved with the behavior. They should be able to identify the risks to them personally as well as the risks to their family and their friends. The risks are sometimes not easy to see, and it is the job of the MI to point these out.

3. Rewards

These are not the type of rewards that you might be thinking. These are internal rewards. The MI approach asks the individual to focus on why that changing the behavior will make his or her life better or how that it will make them a better person.

4. Roadblocks

By knowing what kinds of things and situations that will prevent the person from achieving their goals of changing the behavior, they can prevent them. They will be more aware of these things and have devised a plan in advance to deal with these situations.

5. Repetition

The MI approach wants the person to understand that it is okay to fail. It takes many attempts to make a permanent change. It is important to let the person know that they do have the strength to learn from mistakes and to try again.

The MI approach is used among many types of addictions and destructive behaviors such as smoking and even overeating! Teens are particularly hard to deal with and the MI approach is working to prevent alcoholism in teens

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