Essay on Treatment Intervention

Published: 2021/11/23
Number of words: 1633

Substance use disorder is a complex disease that impacts different aspects of peoples’ lives. In 2017, more than 20 million people in the United States needed drug use disorder treatment, but only 2 million people were eligible to access advanced drug use treatment (Maclean & Saloner, 2018). Moreover, it is worth noting that addiction needs specialized treatment that addresses underlying symptoms of the disease and the consequences that arise from the illness. There are several treatment interventions, but this paper will only look at motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Description of Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic approach that helps individuals realize positive changes in their lives (Miller & Moyers, 2017). This approach makes it easier for patients to stick to positive routines. It is also a form of therapy that helps people overcome ambivalent emotions and insecurities in order to find internal strength that helps alter bad behavior (Knudsen, 2016). Motivational interviewing is a realistic, empathic, and short-term method that recognizes how difficult it is to make life improvements, according to Knudsen (2016). To further understand this approach, scholars often focus on intrinsic thoughts and motivation. For instance, when individuals attempt to change their behavior, one of the most important ways this can happen is intrinsic motivation. This means that the individual attempting to change their behavior must at all times watch over their internal conversations, factors, and desires.

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Benefits and Risks

Motivational intervention is effective and has helped numerous people on their way to recovery. Individuals undergoing the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) are encouraged to engage in this therapeutic intervention for this reason. There are many benefits associated with this treatment approach. The first benefit is that motivational interviewing triggers significant changes in high-risk lifestyle behaviors (Gross et al., 2017). Secondly, this intervention increases patients’ participation rates during treatment programs. Lastly, it empowers patients by allowing them to depend on themselves when it comes to critical life decisions.

However, and despite the numerous benefits, risks remain. Professionals need to conduct follow up treatment. It is essential to understand that behavior modification is the core goal of motivational interviewing, and a behavior change must be linked up to some kind of follow up treatment for a substantial period. The absence of follow-up treatment may trigger a relapse, and in most cases, patients readjust to their old adverse behaviors even after treatment.

Description of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy often focuses on underlying psychological causes, and it helps people recognize and alter destructive and upsetting thinking habits that have a detrimental effect on the quality of their lives (Linardon et al., 2017). More importantly, this approach concentrates on changing negative personal thoughts that often leads to emotional difficulty. Most of these impulsive adverse feelings have a harmful influence on mood; however, cognitive behavioral therapy helps identify these thoughts and replaces them with more objective realist thoughts. This approach can help manage depression and other related disorders. It can help a person enhance self-control when it comes to alcoholism and substance use disorder by identifying the situation where they are more likely to use drugs (Spears et al., 2017). Significantly, it can help patients establish coping mechanisms that help them when they experience situations that cause cravings.

Benefits and Risks

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective form of treatment for mental conditions such as anxiety, addiction, and depression, but it may not be successful or suitable (Spears et al., 2017). However, and regardless of this dilemma, many benefits come with using cognitive behavioral therapy to treat addiction. The first advantage is that it teaches patients practical and realistic techniques that can be followed right aftercare in daily life. Compared to other types of treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy can also be done within a concise period of time (Luik et al., 2017). Nevertheless, the fact that this intervention focus on the individual or the patients’ capacity to change makes it problematic. The entire intervention depends on the patient and not on the professional.

Difference and Similarities

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing are similar. For instance, both interventions require the patient to manage their intrinsic conversations and thoughts (Khattra et al., 2017). Motivational interviewing requires individual patients to control their thoughts in order to realize positive life changes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, on the other hand, requires patients to identify and change destructive intrinsic thought patterns.

Nevertheless, and despite this similarity, both motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy differ significantly. For instance, when these approaches are used together or integrated, motivational interviewing is used to engage patients and enhance their readiness to change, while cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to help patients actively change their behaviors (Khattra et al., 2017). Moreover, motivational interviewing supplements cognitive behavioral therapy by encouraging professionals to meet patients in their unique change process and address motivational issues. At the same time, cognitive-behavioral therapy supplements motivational interviewing by providing action-based interventions that help patients learn how to control and modify thoughts and behavior.

The Preferred Intervention

I would prefer using motivational interviewing because it focuses on thoughts and feelings. Studies indicate that people’s behaviors arise and are triggered by individual thought processes (Mortier et al., 2017). Thoughts persuade people’s behaviors, and human thinking patterns affect how we behave. For instance, when an individual is hungry or sad and stressed, he or she may decide a cheeseburger is the best idea to cover the thought and feeling. The same happens with alcoholism and addiction. The decision to drink or sniff cocaine resonates with one’s ideation (Strait et al., 2019). Motivational interviewing would help guide one’s ideation by identifying the thoughts and feelings that trigger unhealthy behavior. More importantly, it would help individuals develop new thought patterns that aid in behavior change. This intervention is useful because it focuses on the root causes of addiction, such as unhealthy thought patterns that affect behaviors.

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Motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy are talk therapy, and patients are often required to share or communicate with their professionals to attain positive results (Strait et al., 2019). Therefore, because communication is paramount, therapists using motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy must consider their patients’ cultures and how they affect effective patient-provider communication. Therapists, in this case, must understand that past experiences, patients’ perceptions, and cultural background affect how people talk and behave. They should consider culture as a significant factor in communication.

Apart from culture, therapists should consider their patients’ socioeconomic status, gender roles, and age (Strait et al., 2019). An individual’s level of income, family size, and occupation can affect therapeutic outcomes. For instance, a patient without a substantial support system and a high income may find themselves using drugs due to isolation. The intervention used in this case ought to be different from other patients.


The paper has discussed motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior therapy. The two interventions are similar in that both require the patient to manage and control intrinsic thoughts. Motivational interviewing requires individual patients to control their thoughts in order to realize positive life changes. On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy allows patients to recognize and change harmful patterns of thinking. I would choose motivational interviewing over cognitive behavioral therapy because it focuses on changing patients’ thinking patterns.


Gross, D., Park, J., Rayani, F., Norris, C., & Esmail, S. (2017). Motivational interviewing improves sustainable return to work in injured workers after rehabilitation: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation98(12), 2355-2363.

Khattra, J., Angus, L., Westra, H., Macaulay, C., Moertl, K., & Constantino, M. (2017). Client perceptions of corrective experiences in cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing for generalized anxiety disorder: An exploratory pilot study. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration27(1), 23-34.

Knudsen, H. (2016). Implementation of smoking cessation treatment in substance use disorder treatment settings: a review. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse43(2), 215-225.

Linardon, J., Wade, T., de la Piedad Garcia, X., & Brennan, L. (2017). The efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology85(11), 1080-1094.

Luik, A., Kyle, S., & Espie, C. (2017). Digital cognitive behavioral therapy (DCBT) for insomnia: a state-of-the-science review. Current Sleep Medicine Reports3(2), 48-56.

Maclean, J., & Saloner, B. (2018). The effect of public insurance expansions on substance use disorder treatment: evidence from the affordable care act. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management38(2), 366-393.

Miller, W., & Moyers, T. (2017). Motivational interviewing and the clinical science of carl rogers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology85(8), 757-766.

Mortier, P., Cuijpers, P., Kiekens, G., Auerbach, R., Demyttenaere, K., & Green, J. et al. (2017). The prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviours among college students: a meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine48(4), 554-565.

Spears, C., Hedeker, D., Li, L., Wu, C., Anderson, N., & Houchins, S. et al. (2017). Mechanisms underlying mindfulness-based addiction treatment versus cognitive behavioral therapy and usual care for smoking cessation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology85(11), 1029-1040.

Strait, G., Strait, J., Schanding, T., Anderson, J., Stinson, D., Schmidt, S., & Kim, S. (2019). Ethical considerations for using school-based motivational interviewing with parents, teachers, and students. Journal of Applied School Psychology36(1), 62-75.

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