Remotivation: Definition, Uses & Process

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

In this lesson, we will explore what remotivation therapy is and why it would be used. We will also look at a case example and the steps in the remotivation process.

Remotivation: Definition

As a person ages, there are distinct and noticeable changes that occur. Muscles weaken, wrinkles pop up and things just aren't as tight as they used to be. Everyone notices shifts in their own body. They may not always see them as they happen, but one day you step out of the shower and look into a mirror and exclaim, 'What happened?!'

Needless to say, with all the physical and mental changes that occur as we age, there can be some depression. Actually, that's not 100% accurate. The truth is, there is a lot of depression. There is enough depression to make suicide the eighth leading cause of death for people 65 and older, according to the CDC.

To this end, a therapy was developed to help reinvigorate and renew interest in life. Remotivation therapy, which is an individual therapy which focuses on stimulation, discussion and reintegration. This is, of course, a single line definition. Let's look at how it would actually go.


We begin with Chuck, a 70-year-old man who was recently widowed. He has not moved much from his bed, has not showered in a week and has difficulty feeding himself regularly. After a neurologist can determine that there is no biological cause for demotivation, we can begin therapy. The reason the neurologist is brought in is because certain diseases, like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and various other issues, may be causing the problems rather than a motivational aspect.

The next step will be to bring up selected discussion topics. With this, we are engaging Chuck to be interested in what we are discussing. Sort of like how if I walked up to Chuck and started talking about his favorite things rather than my favorite things, like my cats. Chuck's favorite things include football and his work as an architect. This means our topics, initially, will deal with these.

The next step will involve props and in-depth discussion. Here we're going to bring in props or objects that will open up the discussion even more. The initial step was to engage Chuck; now we are looking to draw out positive memories and experiences. There should be no forcefulness in making Chuck positive. This is because to really embrace life, we must acknowledge that there is good and bad. However, the therapist will attempt to steer Chuck to keep his mind on the world outside instead of stuck inside, as well as to keep from being abusive. There is a line between abusiveness and negative.

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