Parents and teens may struggle with finding effective ways to motivate their kids or themselves to make positive changes. Troubled teens may especially struggle with motivation, as some of the positive changes may feel like they are being forced upon them. Teens may believe that others do not accept them for who they are. They may feel resentment when beginning treatment and recovery from problematic behaviors. Treatment may feel to them like the desires of their parents or other authority figures. Finding motivation from within can help teens engage in the process of treatment with a greater sense of autonomy than when they feel like the agendas of others are driving the change. Being reluctant to get involved with treatment can be common for many people in recovery, especially teens, who may not understand the consequences of their current issues. Often parents are the ones who introduce their kids to treatment or recovery.
Parents can help their kids take ownership of the process by seeking choices and options for their kids. They may be more willing to attempt treatment for issues related to drug or alcohol use if they can choose from a variety of options. By encouraging teens to become involved in their own treatment, parents can teach their kids about autonomy, decision-making, and self-care. Often, when beginning a treatment program, clients may struggle to find their own motivations for making change. One treatment technique that may help kids uncover their motivations to make changes in their lives is called “motivational interviewing.”
Motivational Interviewing and Creating Goals
Creating goals that are not our own or to satisfy the wants of other people can leave us feeling unfulfilled. We may also fall short of reaching goals or give up quickly without the internal fire of our motivations fueling our actions. Teens may need some help finding their motivations to change for the better. Motivational interviewing is a method of counseling that can help teens discover their reasons for the change. After all, though we may seek help and treatment with our teens’ best interests at heart, they are the ones putting the work into recovery. Motivational interviewing is a way of opening up a conversation with a person when they are unwilling or uncommitted to making a change. Motivational interviewing uses these four techniques to find a path of least resistance to making positive changes:
Asking open-ended questions:
By asking open-ended questions, a therapist or counselor can elicit more thought-provoking conversations with their clients. Open-ended questions help to foster communication in a natural and relaxed way. These questions can help to build rapport and trust for the counselor or therapist.
A teen may not know or understand their strengths or abilities. By helping teens uncover the strengths within themselves by asking open-ended questions, the counselor can begin to restate the client’s talents back to them. The counselor can also validate the client’s struggles and emotions.
Reflective and active listening:
Reflective and active listening involves making statements that allow a person to know they are being heard and acknowledged. These types of statements can involve restating what a client has said or by asking clarifying questions.
Summarizing the client’s perspective of their problems helps to guide them in creating solutions. The client may have had a difficult time understanding the causes of the distress in their lives or why their family sought treatment for them. When everything is laid out and summarized with the guidance of a counselor or therapist, the client may be able to see the full scope of the issue.
Motivational interviewing can help a client uncover talents and strengths that they may not have been unaware of. They can start to see the cause and effect of some of the problems in their lives. When clients have a greater sense of ownership to make a change, they may be more willing to engage in treatment. Teens especially may have a difficult time understanding long-term cause and effect. They may lack the experience in life to fully grasp why they behave the way they do or that their actions have great consequences. Motivational interviewing can foster autonomy and teach decision-making by restating what a client has already said and encouraging them to use their own strengths as solutions.
If teens are struggling with beginning treatment or starting a recovery program, motivational interviewing may help them find solutions and their own motivation to change. Motivational interviewing is often a short-term counseling technique that helps those struggling with reluctant feelings toward making changes.
Fire Mountain believes that kids can best change by being involved in the decision-making process for their recovery. By using motivational interviewing techniques, therapists and counselors may help to remove any barriers to change that are due to a person’s own lack of motivation. When teens feel that they have no personal desire to make changes, they may resist treatment or not engage in programs seriously. They may feel resentful about being in treatment despite us having their best interests at heart. Parents can find this overwhelming and challenging as they want what is best for their kids. Motivational interviewing can help teens uncover their own desire for change by finding out what is important to them. Fire Mountain encourages teens to make the best decisions for themselves and their future. We are here to help both parents and teens in treating problematic issues.
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