Clinical Psychologist Melike Şimşek “Motivational Interviewing with Individuals with Addiction Problems”

The multiplier event we organized for the purpose of promoting and disseminating the sustainable outputs of our project was hosted by Istanbul University. To the event; project partners, students and valuable names attended. Specialist Clinical Psychologist Melike Şimşek was among these names. Şimşek, who presented her work titled “Motivational Interviewing with Individuals with Addiction Problems”; He first told the story of his acquaintance with this field.

“About 7-8 years ago, I worked in the addiction field. And one of the most important trainings I received was “Motivational Interview Technique”. Afterwards, I realized that this interview technique was very facilitating not only when working with addicted clients or their families, but also in my own life. Because, actually, this interview technique is a technique used to solve the situations in which we experience a dilemma, which we call ambivalence. And it is important that we discover and evaluate the side of it that will work for us. Therefore, there were feelings, decisions and thoughts that I was stuck in in my life. When I saw that it worked in these, I wanted to move forward with this technique. I became one of the motivational trainers in Turkey. I am currently giving training on this.”

He told the story of meeting this technique with his words; emphasized that this technique is also very effective in his personal life. In the following part of his speech, he discussed the basic principles of the motivational interview technique within the scope of substance addiction with the following words:

“No matter what technique we use, there are some things we need. This is true for the social worker, as well as for the former addicts we call recovery counsellors. We can say that it is also valid for psychologists. In other words, we can say that this is true for anyone interviewing addicted clients. One of them is the ’empathetic atmosphere’. Empathy is making us feel that we truly understand the other person. Yes, maybe it is very difficult for us to understand what he went through. Maybe we haven’t experienced them personally. But at least we need to understand the pain he feels there, or whatever that emotion is, and reflect it to the client, only to create such an empathetic atmosphere. Again, the second thing we need in addiction; cooperation, that is, we actually set out on a journey with the client. In fact, to explain from the perspective of motivational interviewing, there is no hierarchical situation in the interview. I am an expert, and the client has not come to benefit from my knowledge. The two of us go out to discover ways that will work for him. For this, we need to walk side by side. We want our messages to be understood, but such a good meeting can be provided. Our third principle is support. Again, when we look at it in terms of motivation, it is necessary to look at the glass half full when addiction is working. In other words, what has this person not been able to do until now, but what has he achieved? How can he achieve these again on the way to recovery? You have to see these. Our fourth principle is to give responsibility. When we think in terms of addiction, unfortunately, we see that the families of these people take some responsibilities on their behalf, so they do not take responsibility for their recovery and treatment. From now on, he has to take responsibility for his own life. And our last principle is change. We expect all our efforts to lead us to a change of behavior. In addiction, it means quitting this use. It is very important to realize all these principles with sensitivities.

He expressed the five principles of motivational interviewing technique with his words and stated that these five principles are very important especially for dependent clients. Finally, what should be done? bent over his question; the most important thing to do; He stated that his aim is to show that addicted clients are not just labels.

“This process is a process that starts with the step of ‘nothing will happen once’ and then continues with never again at work, and proceeds by deceiving oneself as ‘I will not be addicted’. The last phase of this is the ‘I quit, I don’t start again’ phase. In other words, we actually need to keep motivational studies at this point. So we’re not going to open an exit door from here. Because there is always a risk of recurrence. What should we do so that he does not lose his motivation due to ‘I quit and start over’? How can we avoid the risks that will come up? Here’s how we can get him to say no when he gets together with friends who use it to test himself. At this point, all the work takes place. In other words, studying the labeling experienced and exposed by individuals who use substances, supporting them, and showing that they are not just those labels accelerates the healing process.”

He expressed the addiction process with his words and underlined the need to emphasize the success points in their lives, especially to the addicted clients.