What Is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?
Learn about motivational interviewing (MI) and how it can significantly improve people’s lives in this informative article.
A Look at Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing (MI) is an approach to counseling that focuses on motivating people to make positive behavioral changes. It aims to resolve people’s ambivalence toward change to improve the quality of their live
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How Does MI Work?
What Does a Motivational Interviewing Session Entail?
Conversation is the primary tool in MI. The therapist’s goal is to evoke a conversation about what the client wants to change and why. Then, they help the client commit to the change they desire. Expressing commitment out loud goes a long way and has been proven to increase the likelihood of people following through.2
Key Principles of Motivational Interviewing (MI)
There are five major principles used by therapists who practice MI. Therapists adhere to these principles to build trust and establish mutual ground with clients. The five principles are as follows:
Adjust to Resistance
It’s normal for people to oppose change when receiving this treatment for addiction. The purpose of motivational interviewing is to adjust ambivalence by making the client reach a certain point of understanding about themselves.
Therapists use this type of psychology to steer clients into making a positive change to their behavior. The therapist provides the support needed to change, allowing the client to realize their ability to change.
Spirit of Motivational Interviewing (MI)
In MI, a relationship built on trust between the therapist and the client is essential. Three elements must characterize this relationship—collaboration, evocation, and autonomy.
Collaboration Instead of Confrontation
Evocation Rather Than Education
Autonomy Over Authority
In the instance of MI for adolescent clients, it’s imperative for therapists to establish autonomy. It’s common for adolescents to feel ambivalent toward receiving help from adults, making the therapist’s ability to step away from an authoritative role crucial.
Techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Below are the techniques designed for MI.
People can’t simply answer open-ended questions with a yes or no. The questions are meant to make the client explore and express their feelings. Open-ended questions typically begin with how, what, or why. For example, “How do you view yourself in five years?” or “What would be the likely consequences if you do not change this negative behavior?”
What MI Can Assist With
Motivational therapy is an evidence-based treatment, with a plethora of studies proving its effectiveness. For instance, 67% of patients across a total of thirty-nine studies reported a significant improvement in substance abuse treatment outcomes.3
When is MI Most Appropriate?
- Substance use disorder
- Weight loss
- Medication adherence
- Cancer care
- Diabetes care
- Health behaviors among children
Benefits of MI
- Increases self-reliance and confidence
- Encourages clients to accept responsibility for their actions
- Reduces the risk of future relapse
- Improves responsiveness to therapy
- Helps clients see that they possess the power to bring positive change
How to Get Started With Motivational Interviewing
Here are tips on how to get started on your wellness journey:
Locate a Professional Counselor
The first step is finding a therapist who specializes in motivational interviewing. You can ask your doctor for a referral or contact your health insurance provider for a list of therapists in your network.
Check With Your Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, it may cover the total cost or at least a portion of the therapy. Be sure to check if potential therapists are covered by your health insurance provider or request a list of therapists.
Prepare Ahead for Your First Session
Get Motivational Interviewing at Ripple Ranch Recovery
Begin your journey of positive change-making by getting motivational interviewing at Ripple Ranch Recovery. Our team of professional counselors is ready to unlock the confidence you need to commit to change and guide you to a higher quality of life.