What is Motivational Interviewing?

“Motivational Interviewing is a client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence.” (Miller & Rollnick, 2002).

The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing:

  1. Motivation to change is elicited from the client, and not imposed from without.
  2. It is the client's task, not the counselor's, to articulate and resolve his or her ambivalence.
  3. Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence.
  4. The counseling style is generally a quiet and eliciting one.
  5. The counselor is directive in helping the client to examine and resolve ambivalence.
  6. Readiness to change is not a client trait, but a fluctuating product of interpersonal interaction.
  7. The therapeutic relationship is more like a partnership or companionship than expert/recipient roles. The therapist respects the client's autonomy and freedom of choice (and consequences) regarding his or her own behavior.

Differences from more Confrontational Approaches:

  • An MI clinician does not argue that the person has a problem and needs to change.
  • An MI clinician does not offer direct advice or prescribes solutions to the problem without the person's permission or without actively encouraging the person to make his or her own choices.
  • An MI clinician does not use an authoritative/expert stance leaving the client in a passive role.
  • An MI clinician does not do most of the talking, or does not function as a uni-directional information delivery system.
  • An MI clinician does not impose a diagnostic label.
  • And lastly, an MI clinician never behaves in a punitive or coercive manner.

Please see: www.motivationalinterviewing.org