What is the Center For Motivation and Change?

We are a group of dedicated psychologists…clinicians and researchers, who have been writing books and articles, developing groundbreaking treatments, conducting research studies, training programs and community outreach efforts for years. Our goal? Better, more effective and more respectful treatment for people struggling with substance use, as well as their families. Our even bigger goal? To change the conversation. From the language of stigma to the language of growth. From defects to strengths. From shame to pride and an open heart. From punishment and confrontation to an invitation to truly change. And to change that conversation, we rely on science and kindness.

Our Approach

Our approach at CMC is two-fold. We use motivational techniques to help clients weigh the costs and benefits of change and cognitive-behavioral techniques to help clients develop the concrete skills and strategies they need to change. We think of these two important aspects of our approach as the “Decision” and the “Tools.”

At the core of all change must be each individual’s decision to take action. While there are specific and effective tools for making change, they are of little help without first making the difficult decision to use them. Our goal at CMC is to help clients identify their own personal and compelling reasons for change and choose a pathway they can truly endorse.

We encourage clients to weigh the costs and benefits of their current behavior and commit to change for reasons that make sense to them. They are also encouraged to continually reweigh and recommit throughout treatment, as their reasons for changing will shift over time.

At CMC, we teach our clients core motivational, cognitive-behavioral, and relapse prevention techniques—the tools they need to support their ongoing decision to change. Clients learn to identify stressors and “triggers” to substance use and other compulsive behaviors, and develop effective coping skills for avoiding, reducing, and managing them. During this process, we help our clients consider and implement a wide range of beneficial lifestyle and relationship changes.

This positive, holistic approach is designed to help clients sustain real and lasting change. Focusing solely on stopping behaviors is rarely as successful as developing a richer and more balanced life that can sustain positive change.

Our Commitment

To provide comprehensive, cutting edge, research-supported treatment
At CMC we are committed to the science of change. Evidence-based treatments, particularly motivational and cognitive-behavioral, are central to our practice and mission. While the traditional treatment community has long relied on ideologically-driven approaches (e.g., 12-step) – despite limited evidence of effectiveness – motivational and cognitive–behavioral approaches have achieved a robust track record of success over the last twenty years. They are rated as the most effective treatments available. Clients report high appreciation and acceptance of motivational approaches, while cognitive-behavioral interventions are effective across a wide spectrum of problems, help sustain the effects of treatment, and reduce the severity of relapses when they occur.

To provide multiple paths and options for change
One size does not fit all. At CMC we recognize that there are many paths to positive change. Evidence shows that people are more likely to embrace a course of action—to value, enjoy, and maintain new ways of living—when they have chosen that path themselves. We are less interested in telling clients what they should do, and more interested in helping them find a path that is consistent with their values and goals.

To work with all clients considering change (whether or not they are actually “ready” to begin changing)
It is our commitment to help those who are just beginning to consider change as well as those who have fully decided. Ambivalence is natural, reasonable, and to be expected, both in the beginning and down the road. Reasons to change also vary from person to person. We help people weigh the costs and benefits of their current behavior (the costs may be obvious, yet they wouldn’t be doing it if there weren’t some benefit), and realistically evaluate the costs and benefits of change. We know that change is a long-term, sometimes bumpy process, and we endeavor to help our clients persevere. We also only use treatment techniques that encourage and cultivate the change process rather than stalling or actually ending it (e.g., confrontation).

To develop a customized plan for change based on client circumstances and goals
At CMC, many paths to change mean a plan that fits each person’s needs. Flexibility is the key to helping. We are prepared to help people address the variety of compulsive behaviors, substance-related problems, and emotional issues that often complicate change. We offer a range of services and specializations. We also work with a wide variety of collaborating providers (both inpatient and outpatient) to whom we freely refer for services that complement each individual’s primary course of treatment.

To respect each client’s integrity, dignity, and choice
Compulsive behaviors are problems for people; they are not the whole person. We appreciate the potential for change in each person, no matter how much they are struggling or what stage of change they’re in. We help people feel empowered and attracted to change, instead of telling them they must earn it. And we offer a private treatment setting that is welcoming and encouraging to clients, with confidentiality a priority.

To continually develop a staff of dedicated and accomplished psychologists
Good treatment requires good therapists. Good evidence-based treatment requires therapists dedicated to understanding the best, most current research, and capable of doing what works. It’s an exciting time in our field. Clinicians at CMC are highly trained, experienced professionals committed to learning, growing, and honing our expertise in light of empirical evidence. We put science into practice, and we care deeply about what we do.