Brief motivational techniques and substance misuse

Some evidence – there is enough evidence to indicate that this can be a helpful treatment option.

Brief motivational interventions can be delivered in different ways and are often part of another treatment. For example, if you have an injury related to substance abuse and need to go to A & E then you might be offered a short counselling session lasting 5-10 minutes. This would look at: 

  • the risks of your substance use
  • advice about reducing or stopping using substances
  • the help that’s available
  • any emotional issues around your substance use

Brief motivational interventions might also be delivered over one or two longer sessions and help you to think through the possible benefits and concerns to do with stopping your substance use.

You should not be offered a brief motivational intervention as a standalone treatment for substance misuse. Instead, this type of treatment should be part of your initial assessment or part of other treatments (such as cognitive behavioural therapy or family based treatments).

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.





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