Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Often the hardest aspects of recovery is changing our thought processes and actions, especially while dealing with various life challenges stemming from past trauma, depression, anxiety, and other byproducts of addiction. Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a motivational style of counseling that employs principles of Motivational Interviewing, a technique that itself was developed by two clinical psychologists, Stephen Rollnick, and William R. Miller. MET offers itself as an alternative to 12-step programs and is a form of addiction therapy that helps patients in recovery to overcome uncertainty related to a change in their self-destructive drug or alcohol behavior. It is well known that substance abuse alters the wiring of the brain, affecting neural circuits associated with pleasure, mood, and even one’s sleep-wake cycle. Consequently, it also affects a persons’ way of thinking, their decision-making abilities, how they take in knowledge, their memory, and management of performance. The primary aim of MET is all about motivating someone to face and change their damaging behaviors. As you may well know, that often even though people who have an addiction are aware of the negative impact their habit has on their lives and those around them, they are not willing to change or are not able to change their behavior. Motivational enhancement therapy is a form of communication that helps the patient to see inconsistencies in their self-destructive behavior and move them from a pre-contemplation state to one of action. MET applies particular focus on areas where he or she is hesitant about introducing potentially beneficial actions in their life, thus overcoming ambivalence. 

MET is based on five fundamental tenets:

  1.     Creating an environment of trust by expressing empathy, listening, and understanding their experiences and feelings to help an individual see their destructive behaviors
  2.     Developing discrepancy and elaborate on various incongruities by promoting differentiation in the patient’s mind to clearly show them where they are currently in their state of abusing drugs or alcohol and where they would like to be in a substance-free future.
  3.     During a MET interview, a therapist will do all they can to avoid arguments that may result in the client being distrustful, resistant, and oppositional. Instead, they will use techniques that will ultimately encourage trust and comfort.
  4.     MET counselors are trained to understand resistance to change instead of confronting it head-on, meaning they neutralize opposition by listening and being attentive without judgment or defensiveness. This is an effective way to promote trust and lower the levels of hostility.
  5.     A MET therapist will support a client’s self-efficacy by offering positive thoughts, reinforcement, and feedback to help an individual feel hopeful and boost their self-worth and esteem while at it.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy is customized to the specific needs of the person receiving treatment. Not only has it proven beneficial to those with a substance abuse disorder, but MET has also shown to also be helpful in the management of anxiety, eating disorders and gambling addiction as well as treatment for individuals who may be going through identity issues or trying to establish their autonomy. It is clear to see how this sort of methodology is complementary to other treatment modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy  

Coping with Stress

You’re running late, you have an overwhelming workload, you’re suffering under unrealistic expectations, feeling burnt out, exhausted, and on top of all of this, you are HANGRY. What does all of this lead to? Headaches, tension, restlessness, and a low sex drive, all of which are caused by stress. We’ve all been there. In fact, most of us are probably enduring some amount or form of stress this very moment. It is not uncommon. But how can we overcome this stress rather than letting it occupy every fiber of our being? It seems simple, but let’s face it, with only 24 hours in a day, life can sometimes have the upper hand on how you spend your time. The challenging part in all of this is taking time to prioritize and eliminate even the smallest of things that do not serve you in order to make time for yourself. Let’s look at a few of the ways that we can have power over the stress that can so easily tie us down to unwelcomed discomfort. Relax. Close your eyes and breathe. Find a way to pull yourself out of whatever environment is causing you to stress or causing you to think about the weighing pressures in your life. Perhaps turning down the lights and taking a bubble bath or hot shower with candles and essential oils sound relaxing to you. Or you may find a sunny day on a secluded beach listening to the repetitious calming sounds of the waves and feeling the warm breeze tingle on your skin. Maybe a float in a swimming pool. A walk in nature. A walk around the block. Simply shutting your eyes and breathing. Yes, this all requires time, which we all know there is never enough of. However, managing and organizing your time will allow you to phase out the things that are otherwise avoidable causes of stress. Put down the phone, pick up a book. Disconnecting from the world wide web and social media platforms will eliminate any distractions and unnecessary clutter in your head. In today’s culture, it feels obligatory to be plugged in at all times to some sort of technology. We scroll through other’s feeds, watch shows, download movies, check emails, etc. Somehow, we are almost always faced to screen in some way or another. Just for a while, put it away. Open a book to read, or a notebook to a journal, color or draw in. Engage your mind in activities that do not require you to focus on a screen. It may be unrealistic to say that this can be done over an extended period given that most of our work and social lives depend on technology, however, boundaries can be set to help limit the usage of your devices. At the end of the day, rather than staying connected and checking your emails after hours of mindlessly scrolling, put your phone away and immerse yourself into a good book or puzzle. Invest in you. It is so easy to resort to binge eating, drinking alcohol, or participating in other self-destructive behaviors when we feel stressed out. In fact, it is what a large majority turn to. But is this a long term beneficial resort? Absolutely not. These decisions will only increase and intensify the level of stress we feel once the temporary comfort of these substances or behaviors fade. Rather than turning to unhealthy habits, consciously decide to take time for self- care. This could include yoga, walking, running, swimming or any other form of exercise in addition to engaging in a healthy diet. You do not need to be a health nut in order to take interest in your body and mind. You simply have to set a little bit of time aside to look after yourself. The simple act of moving in whatever way you choose is scientifically proven to reduce the level of stress hormones in your brain. Who wants to argue with science? The bottom line is, stress is unavoidable. There is very little that we can do to prevent stress in our lives, otherwise there would never be any. What we can do is take measures to avoid letting stress get the best of us. Recognize your limitations. Accept what is in your control. Find the positive rather than the negatives in situations that you have no control over. Give yourself a break. Take the time to appreciate how much you do achieve and persevere. And lastly, don’t forget to prioritize your time in order to make room for habits that will actually benefit and serve you.

The Power of Sleep

Have you ever known what it’s like to start a full day on empty? You know that you needed that sleep, but you either voluntarily or involuntarily got little to none. So, here you are packing up your things for a long day ahead and you find yourself feeling empty inside. Your brain feels foggy, you’re cranky and can’t focus. That cup – or pot – of coffee is the only thing you’ve got going for you in order to make it through the day. In this scenario, you represent one-third of American adults who are not getting the sleep they need on a regular basis, which the CDC estimates to be 7 hours a night. Why is sleep so important to our mental health?         With good sleep, you can think more clearly, stay focused and make informed decisions, which plays a large part of your daily successes in schooling, family responsibilities or at work. Well- rested, your productivity and problem-solving skills are greatly increased, which in turn makes for greater ease in avoiding relapse. However, sleep deprivation has quite the adverse effect: cue “brain fog”. This term finds its origin in describing the disconnect between neurons (cells of the brain) and their inability to communicate properly with one another, usually resulting in temporary mental lapses and slowed response times . Having a consistent sleep routine is one way to ensure that your brain is functioning on all levels properly. Life is stressful, so let’s get less sleep?         The first aspect of the above sentiment is true: life is stressful.  However, the answer to a hectic day should be anything but reducing Z’s. After a restless night, you may find yourself more likely to be irritable and more emotionally reactive to situations. However, sleep is in itself a powerful and restorative stress reducer.  A good night’s sleep can assist with your cognitive skills and alertness. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, sleep tends to be one of the first things to go when we feel under pressure. Lack of sleep will reduce your mental clarity, which, when combined with traffic jams, a demanding workload, or any attempt to remain in control of a chaotic life, will likely lead to stress. This becomes a vicious cycle when that stress then becomes the cause of the next restless night, further preventing you from the experiencing the restorative effects of sleep. Cycles such as this delay someone from entering the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of the sleep cycle. REM is the sleep stage responsible for restoring mental function, and how the brain processes emotions and memories.  Conversely, too much time in REM sleep can also cause daytime fatigue, which can further disrupt normal sleep cycles and mood. Sleep is Important for Mental Health and Recovery         Good sleep also helps prevent depression and anxiety. While these, in addition to one’s current stressors, make it difficult to fall asleep, quality sleep is what helps to decrease the amount of anxiety you experience by allowing you the mental clarity to see and work through the root cause of the anxiety. For those in recovery, sleep is vital, as it leads to less impulsive behaviors, and reduces one’s risk for relapse. While the experience of disturbed sleep is common for those in early recovery, failing to establish a sleep routine lends way to destructive habits like reaching for caffeine, nicotine, or sugary or processed foods just to make it through the day, furthering the cycle of and not addressing its root cause. Your Future Self Will Thank You Our bodies work best when they are on a set schedule, waking up and falling asleep at the same time every day. Try to relax your mind before getting into bed by avoiding blue light (phones, TVs, etc.) for at least an hour before crawling into bed, as this is known to disrupt the circadian rhythm. Listen to calming music, read a book, count backward from 500, or write in a journal. But once you are lying down, try to turn your mind off so you can receive the restorative sleep you so desperately need. When you prioritize getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night, your body and mind will thank you, your friends and family will thank you, and quite possibly so will your boss, your bank account, and those who share your commute. Good sleep is a vital aspect of everyday life. It influences your health, feelings, and ability to effectively work your recovery. We at Riviera Recovery know the importance of sleep and value it’s healing powers, especially for those in recovery. Learn a little bit more about our mission, and what is important to us, or contact us with any specific questions you may have.

Mental Health Residential Treatment Los Angeles

Mental Health Residential Treatment Los Angeles

America is beginning to take a hard look at the need for mental health services that have long been scarce.  Mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorders, and schizophrenia can be incapacitating if not treated early. Rising prevalence of psychiatric disorders overall brings the subject of mental health into sharp focus today.  In fact, according to data provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 44 million adults experience mental illness each year in the U.S.  With a dearth of psychiatric facilities available and a complex health insurance landscape making getting help difficult and confusing, there is a clear need for renewed focus on the state of mental health services available. Increasingly, private residential mental health treatment programs are on the rise, helping to fill the gap in providing help for those in need.  Mental health residential treatment Los Angeles is providing essential psychiatric and behavioral health treatment services in a variety of settings, from suburban communities to rural enclaves.

About Mental Health Residential Treatment Los Angeles

In the early stages of a mental health or mood disorder, most individuals seek help via a private physician or psychiatrist who can prescribe medication and monitor progress.  Often, psychotherapy is also prescribed to provide an outlet for individuals who struggle with the effects of living with a mental health condition.  A therapist can help the individual construct new coping techniques and guide them toward better social functioning. When a mental health disorder continues to deteriorate, however, a more aggressive, focused treatment plan is implicated.  Usually at this point the individual has become unable to manage their life, is suffering from feeling completely overwhelmed by their disorder, or may be a danger to him or herself or others.  By entering an inpatient or residential mental health treatment program, the individual can first be stabilized and then treated in a more targeted fashion.  Residential treatment offers a safe, supportive environment free of the stressors that may have caused the escalation in symptoms.

What Services are Provided in Residential Mental Health Programs?

The residential setting provides a community-style environment where individuals become part of the larger “family” and learn how to respect the other residents while taking responsibility for their behavior.  This leads to a nurturing atmosphere where the residents are supportive to each other as peers while working toward their recoveries.  At the same time, residents learn to take care of themselves in order to become more autonomous and high functioning.  Some residential mental health facilities offer a work-based program, which allows the individual in treatment to also work at a job. Within the inpatient setting, individuals will receive a tailored treatment plan following an intensive psychiatric and physical evaluation, including a review of their mental health history.  Each treatment plan will vary according to specific needs, but most will participate in a variety of therapeutic interventions that foster healing and recovery.  These include the use of evidence-based therapies such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, and others, and will be provided in both individual sessions and group sessions.  Psychotropic medication management and holistic therapies round out the residential treatment.

Dual Diagnosis Residential Treatment Programs

In many cases, a serious mental health disorder coexists with a substance use disorder.  If this is the case, finding a residential behavioral health treatment program that specializes in treating dual diagnosis is appropriate.  A dual diagnosis program will simultaneously treat both the addiction and the co-occurring mental health disorder to achieve a sustained recovery.

Riviera Recovery a Resource for Mental Health Residential Treatment Los Angeles

Riviera Recovery provides an important role as a liaison for individuals seeking inpatient mental health treatment.  Located in Malibu, California, Riviera Recovery offers a concierge sober living environment and will coordinate mental health or dual diagnosis treatment services with local providers.  If mental health residential treatment Los Angeles is desired, contact Riviera Recovery to begin the journey to improved well-being at (866) 478-7899.