Motivational Incentive Treatment, also known as Contingency Management, is a program targeted toward changing destructive patterns of addicts through positive reward.

Structured around the participant's adherence to their rehabilitation plan, they are incentivized to meet goals, like providing negative urine samples, attending 12-step meetings and group therapy sessions. If a participant meets these goals, they are given different rewards for their positive behavior, ranging from prizes to cash.

History of Motivational Incentive Treatment/Contingency Management

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that "incentive-based interventions are highly effective," both for increasing treatment retention and promoting abstinence from drugs.

In 2000 NIDA began a study entitled Motivational Incentives for Enhanced Drug Abuse Recovery (MIEDAR), which compared the success and recovery of clients receiving incentivized treatment, to clients receiving traditional counseling. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network summarized the success of the study.

Many treatment experts caution the optimism surrounding this treatment plan. Based on research, they are aware effectiveness of this method is dependent on the strict implementation of seven principles.

How To Motivational Incentive Treatment Works

The short article "Motivational Incentives: Foundations & Principles" reviews these basic rules. The seven principles they use are summarized below:

  • Identify the Target Behavior: A problematic behavior like abusing drugs or alcohol must be chosen, and able to be measured and observed. This behavior serves as the core of the framework of the incentive program, as the client works to avoid engaging in their target behavior.
  • Choice of Target Population: Motivational Incentive Treatment models are used in community treatment environments. Therefore, a specific population needs to be chosen. Examples of this are groups of users that are non-compliant with treatment, or groups of users addicted to the same substance.
  • Choice of Reinforcer: Desirable rewards must be established for the client; these may range from special privileges in an inpatient facility to prizes, or cash.
  • Incentive Magnitude: The amount of reinforcement provided must be established, especially if different amounts of positive reinforcements will be given for some positive behaviors over others.
  • Frequency of Incentive Distribution: Also known as the Schedule of Reinforcement, this is the decision ofhow often to reward a positive behavior.
  • Timing of Incentive: In all of the studies conducted, contingency management proved to be most effective when incentives followed positive reinforcement as quickly as possible, after "good" behavior.
  • Duration of intervention: This is the determination of how long must a program continue to offer incentives for desirable behavior.

Results And Testimonials

The NIDA has declared Motivational Incentive Treatment on its own as a successful form of treatment for drug users. More evidence of this has been brought forth by studies like those from the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. The study showed that Contingency Management became associated withlonger durations of abstinence from substances.

The Danya Institute recently published a YouTube video focusing on how Motivational Incentive Treatment hasprolonged and improved client participation in their facilities. As an unexpected bonus, the video highlights how this method of treatment encourages the staff and raises job satisfaction. The clinic directors reported that this treatment system appears to be working in a way beneficial to everyone involved.

If you are interested in Motivational Incentive Treatment/Contingency Management treatment, please ask your doctor or contact your local addiction treatment facility for more information.