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Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in therapy

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in therapy

Intrinsic motivation is being motivated by the process itself, typically for interest, challenge or enjoyment.

There are also three needs that may be met by intrinsic motivation:

·         relatedness

·         competence

·        autonomy

The more the hypnotherapist and/or psychotherapist can help a client to be intrinsically motivated by either the goal and/or the behaviours necessary to reach the goal, the more likely the client is to be successful. A good therapist will incorporate motivation within every session in some way.

Extrinsic motivation is being motivated by factors outside the process itself, such as rewards, approval or pressure.

It can be delineated into a continuum of self-determination:

·         External:        I must

·         Introjected:  I should

·         Identified:     I want to

·        Integrated:   It is important to me

The more the therapist can help the client to move towards the lower portions of this continuum the better. However, extrinsic motivation should be used with caution. Sometimes these things backfire, but sometimes they are really useful. An example might be of someone who is taking a course. Talking to them about the certificate they get at the end of the course MAY help their motivation to do the work, but may not be motivating. If the certificate means nothing, then this would “jar” and the client may find it hard to accept other ideas that are offered.

Also, if a person gets used to getting rewards for certain behaviours, and then the rewards cease, it may be that they will discontinue the behaviour even if it is beneficial in other ways.

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