Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling style for effecting behavior change, and for helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence by evoking their personal motivations for change (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). It is defined as a “collaborative, goal-oriented type of communication with particular attention to the language or change” and “is designed to strengthen personal motivation for change” (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). Miller and Rollnick propose that MI can be understood in terms of: overarching principles (the ‘MI spirit’); four processes; and five core skills. Read more
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- Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Use Disorder Treatment | SAMHSA | 2019 download archived copy
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- Treasure, J. (2004). Motivational interviewing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 10, 331-337 download
What Is Motivational Interviewing?
Overarching Principles of MI (the MI Spirit)
- Partnership: an attitude of collaboration rather than an authoritarian style.
- Acceptance: respect for the autonomy of the patient/client.
- Compassion: promotion of the patient’s welfare and the prioritization of his/her needs.
- Evocation: the evocation of the patient’s own motivation.
The Four Processes of MI
- Engagement: using a person-centered empathic listening.
- Focusing: identifying a target for change that is to be the primary subject of discussion in therapy.
- Evoking: eliciting ‘change talk’ to support patient motivation.
- Planning: implementing change by using client expertise.
Five Core Skills of MI
- Asking open-ended questions
- Reflective listening
- Informing and advising
De Almeida Neto (2017) argues that four micro-counseling skills are important in MI:
- The ability to ask open-ended questions that assist clients to explore the need for and possibility of change, supporting their autonomy.
- The ability to provide affirmations that assist counselors in building rapport and supporting clients’ self-efficacy or confidence in their ability to master change, with personal strengths and prior successes being highlighted.
- The capacity for active listening, which assists counselors to portray empathy and to guide clients toward making a change.
- The ability to provide summary statements to the client which communicate interest and understanding and draw attention to important elements of the discussion.
- De Almeida Neto, A. C. (2017). Understanding motivational interviewing: An evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3(4), 379–389.
- Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change. New York: Guilford Press.