A blog post

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing: is a directive, client centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence.

• Motivation to change is elicited from the client and not imposed from without. You can’t give someone motivation much like you can’t give them self-esteem. This relies upon identifying and utilizing the client’s intrinsic values to stimulate behavior change.

• It’s the clients task (not the counselors) to articulate and resolve ambivalence. Each course of action has perceived benefits and costs associated with it.
Example: If I stop smoking I’ll feel better about myself, but I’ll gain weight which will make me unattractive and unhappy. The counselor’s job is to facilitate expression of this seeming impasse to how the ambivalence may be resolved.
Example: If I drop my demanding behavior I’ll feel weak and vulnerable.

• Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence.
Urgent persuading increase client resistance.

• The counseling tone is a quiet and eliciting one.
Direct persuasion, aggressive confrontation and argumentation are the conceptual opposites of MI.

• The counselor is directive in helping the client examine and resolve ambivalence.
The operational assumption in MI is that ambivalence or lack of resolve or choice is the principal obstacle to be overcome in triggering change.

• Readiness to change is not a client trait but a fluctuating product of interaction with the counselor.
The counselor then must be responsive to signs of motivation. Resistance and denial are feedback on how the counselor is doing and may be a cue to modify the approach.

• The counselor/client relationship is a partnership or collaboration.