Is Motivational Interviewing Effective?

There have been more than 300 outcome studies of MI published, along with over 100 randomized controlled trials and numerous meta-analyses and systematic reviews. MI has earned its standing as an evidence-based intervention and was listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Practices and Programs.  Results have shown MI:

  • is as good or better than other behavioral interventions
  • helps people change in shorter time periods than other interventions
  • engages people into other interventions or treatments
  • to be even more effective if used more often
  • effective for a wide variety of behavioral issues
  • effective across cultures
  • more cost effective than other treatments

Research and many years of experience indicate that motivational interviewing is an effective method for facilitating behavior change.  Some people express concern that motivational interviewing will take too much time. However, once you master the techniques of motivational interviewing, you will realize that this does not have to take long periods of time. In fact, it can be used very effectively in brief interactions.  Furthermore, motivational interviewing can reduce your own stress and frustration by removing the burden of having to problem solve and come up with all the answers on your own.  By involving  the person you are trying to help in the problem-solving process, you are actually increasing the odds that they will find a solution that works for them.