What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational interviewing is a collaborative conversation style for strengthening a person’s own motivation and commitment to change a behavior or achieve a specific goal.  This is accomplished by strategically eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion with the aim of helping the person talk themselves into changing instead of telling them what to do.   Hearing their own reasons for change increases individuals’ motivation and commitment for change and ultimately leads to individuals deciding to make positive behavior changes on their own.  People using MI purposively use open ended questions, affirmations, reflective statements, and summary statements to guide a conversation in a way that reduces relationship discord and helps people discuss their ambivalence and hopes for the future in a genuine way.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

  • A person-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change
  • Focused on exploring and resolving ambivalence
  • The rationale is that the desire for change must be intrinsic
  • Intrinsic motivation can be increased through eliciting change talk

What are some key differences between Motivational Interviewing and other techniques?

  • Collaboration vs Confrontation
  • Evocation vs Education
  • Autonomy vs Authority

What is “Change Talk”?

  • Talking about disadvantages of staying the same
  • Talking about advantages of change
  • Expressing optimism for change
  • Expressing intention to change

What is NOT Motivational Interviewing?

  • Question-answer back-and-forth interaction
  • Taking sides
  • Presenting yourself as the expert
  • Labelling the client
  • Determining the focus of treatment prematurely
  • Blaming
  • Righting reflex” (telling the person what to do, giving the “right answers”, correcting the person)