Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a goal-focused, client-centered counseling approach developed, in part, by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. The goal of MI is to help people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities and find the motivation they need to change their behavior. Although motivational interviewing was first used for problem drinking and others with substance abuse issues, it has been proven effective for many people struggling with making healthier choices. This therapeutic technique works especially well with those who start off resistive, unmotivated or unprepared for change (and less well on those who are already prepared and motivated to change). Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s motivational interviewing specialists today.

Meet the specialists

I have participated in each level of Motivational Interviewing through the CCOE at Case Western University, and became a trainer in MI skills as well as the MI Champions group supervisor expert. I use this orientation to help clients make decisions through their own stage of change and readiness through Socratic methods rather than prescribing to a client what they need to do to impact change in their lives.

— Stephanie Hurley, Counselor in Cincinnati, OH

My goal is to find the seeds of what is important to you and show you how to meet your goal. The best thing about Motivational Interviewing is that it taught me how to listen for the seeds. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. With MI, everyone has their own motivation. We just have to look for it together.

— Sandy Demopoulos, Clinical Social Worker in White Plains, NY

The only true, lasting change that can happen is that which is initiated from within. My goal is not to change you, but to help guide you in making the change that you have been wanting to make for yourself. If others are trying to make you change, we can discuss why that is and what you think is best for you. I completed training in Motivational Interviewing seven years ago and have been successfully using it with students at school and clients in private practice ever since.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI

We will work together to get to the root of what's really needing your attention, and identify practical solutions. Talk therapy can be especially helpful for people who are still gaining clarity about themselves and what they are wanting to change in their lives. I can assist you in learning mindfulness techniques, coping skills, and help you to create gradual and actionable goals that you can work towards.

— Jesse Spivack, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

There are obsessions and addictions that we want to change such as smoking, porn/sex addiction, shopping, overeating, dieting or exercise, substance use and others. We know how badly addictions and compulsive behavior make us feel. We can’t always stop these behaviors on our own. In therapy, I will help you find and grow your motivation to change and achieve your goals. It can be a difficult road but I will get you there and show you how.

— Elissa Grunblatt, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Amityville, NY

I have completed graduate-level coursework and post-graduate continuing education seminars in Motivational Interviewing. I have successfully used Motivational Interviewing with clients court ordered for alcohol and drug treatment in outpatient, residential, and jail-based settings.

— Brian Prester, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

I use motivational interviewing to understand what drives parents' desire to change the way they are parenting. This helps me to focus my coaching toward that motivation and help the parents focus on it as well. For example, if the parents' motivation is less stress and more free time, I can remind the parents of this when making parenting decisions.

— Lisa Wittorff, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

This set of skills is based on asking a series of questions to help you uncover your underlying reasons to move forward with plans or identify and work with obstacles that prevent you from doing so.

— Kate McNulty, Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

I have been trained in Motivational Interviewing and currently in a consultation group to enhance my skills.

— Ivy Hall, Psychologist in Berkeley, CA

I have a background in working with individuals who need help addressing their substance use. Motivational Interviewing is great because it will use your own knowledge and expertise to help guide you toward your own goals, not goals of other people (or the goals of the clinician). Motivational Interviewing also works great to motivate people to move towards health-related goals, such as exercise, healthy eating, and anything in-between.

— Inga Curry, Clinical Psychologist in SAN DIEGO, CA

Many people with chronic health conditions have been put into the “sick role”, where they are expected to and rewarded when they passively take in the treatments their all-knowing doctors prescribe. I’m not like that! I want to know what your motivations and goals are for treatment, and I will collaborate with you on your goals, not mine.

— Peter Addy, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Keizer, OR

I received training in motivational interviewing (MI) and while working at the VA. I have spent the last several years of my career teaching other people in the medical field how to use MI effectively. Anytime someone is making a change, it is normal to feel some amount of ambivalence or resistance. MI is a person-centered way to help someone overcome those feelings to make changes in the best interest of their health and wellbeing.

— Sari Chait, Psychologist in Newton, MA

I have training in motivational interviewing and the impact it has on building the therapeutic relationship.

— Katelyn Prechel, Clinical Social Worker in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

It's one thing to get sober, it's another thing to sustain in for the long-term. Maintaining sobriety involves staying focused on what keeps you sober in the first place. Your job, your family, your spirituality your health? Whatever it is that makes you get up in the morning is what we need to find that will keep you on your path of recovery.

— Joshua Nursall, Counselor in Chandler, AZ

Motivational interviewing is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with non-directive counseling, it is more focused and goal-directed, and departs from traditional Rogerian client-centered therapy through this use of direction, in which therapists attempt to influence clients to consider making changes, rather than engaging in non-directive therapeutic exploration.

— Tony Filanowski, Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY

Motivational interviewing is a powerful tool to help you make decisions, identify goals, and make lasting changes in your life. This technique empowers you to understand and then take steps towards what you want.

— Megan McDavid, Sex Therapist in Portland, OR

This type of solution-focused therapy allows me to preserve and promote my clients’ self-determination by helping them access their own internal motivation to make changes in their lives. MI was born in the addictions treatment world, but works well with just about everyone. That’s because it isn’t focused on the problem, but on the mechanisms that help us bring about change in our own lives, and the supports we need to get those mechanisms moving.

— Val Jones, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Mount Vernon, WA

I have worked with clients for the past six years with motivational interviewing. This therapy allows clients to reach their goals and understand their motivations while rolling with normal resistance that comes with change.

— Heather Bell, Clinical Social Worker in Clackamas, OR