Evaluating motivational enhancement therapy adherence and competence among Spanish-speaking therapists

Elizabeth J. Santa Ana, Kathleen M. Carroll, Luis Añez, Manuel Paris, Samuel A. Ball, Charla Nich, Tami L. Frankforter, Lourdes Suarez-Morales, José Szapocznik, Steve Martino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Despite the fact that the number of Hispanic individuals in need of treatment for substance use problems is increasing internationally, no studies have investigated the extent to which therapists can provide empirically supported treatments to Spanish-speaking clients with adequate fidelity. Twenty-three bilingual Hispanic therapists from five community outpatient treatment programs in the United States were randomly assigned to deliver either three sessions of motivational enhancement therapy (MET) or an equivalent number of drug counseling-as-usual (CAU) sessions in Spanish to 405 Spanish-speaking clients randomly assigned to these conditions. Independent ratings of 325 sessions indicated the adherence/competence rating system had good to excellent interrater reliability and indicated strong support for an a priori defined fundamental MET skill factor. Support for an advanced MET skill factor was relatively weaker. The rating scale indicated significant differences in therapists' MET adherence and competence across conditions. These findings indicate that the rating system has promise for assessing the performance of therapists who deliver MET in Spanish and suggest that bilingual Spanish-speaking therapists from the community can be trained to implement MET with adequate fidelity and skill using an intensive multisite training and supervision model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Hispanic population
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Therapist adherence and competence
  • Therapist training and supervision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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