Motivational Interviewing (MI)

motivational-interviewing-innerMI - Motivational Interviewing is a technique in which the therapist becomes a helper in the change process and expresses acceptance of the client. It is a way to interact with substance-using clients or clients that are unsure whether they are motivated to make changes., It is a style of counseling that can help resolve the ambivalence that prevents clients from realizing personal goals.

Although some people can continue change on their own, others require more formal treatment and support over the long journey of recovery. Even for clients with low readiness, motivational interviewing serves as a vital prelude to later therapeutic work. Motivational interviewing is a counseling style based on the following assumptions:

  • Ambivalence about change is normal and constitutes an important motivational obstacle in recovery.
  • Ambivalence can be resolved by working with your client's intrinsic motivations and values.
  • The alliance between therapist and client is a collaborative partnership.
  • An empathic, supportive, yet directive, counseling style provides conditions under which change can occur. (Direct argument and aggressive confrontation may tend to increase client defensiveness and reduce the likelihood of behavioral change.)
  • Adapted and modified from Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration