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

Motivational interviewing is a counseling method that helps people resolve conflictingco feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior. It is a practical, empathetic, and short-term process that takes into consideration how difficult it is to make life changes.

— Jeremy Poling, Licensed Professional Counselor in Rockingham (Harrisonburg), VA

Motivational Interviewing is a technique in which the counselor becomes a helper in the change process and expresses acceptance of the individual. This style of counseling can help resolve ambivalence which prevents individuals from realizing personal goals. Motivational interviewing builds on Carl Rogers' optimistic and humanistic theories about people's capabilities to exercise free choice and grow through the process of self-actualization.

— Bradley Raburn, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Caldwell, ID

I embrace motivational interviewing in my practice because I value the wisdom of the people I work with and see my role as holding space with people that supports their own self discovery. We embark on a collaborative journey together.

— Sydney Bell, Psychotherapist in ,

At Children's Hospital Los Angeles, I was a member of the Motivational Interviewing trainers group, tasked with providing one-on-one coaching for staff, as well as team presentations to the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, as part of an initiative to incorporate MI throughout programs.

— Jennifer Collins, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pasadena, CA

This intervention helps people become motivated to change the behaviors that are preventing them from making healthier choices. Research has shown that this intervention works well with individuals who start off unmotivated or unprepared for change. Motivational interviewing is also appropriate for people who are may not be ready to commit to change, but motivational interviewing can help them move through the emotional stages of change necessary to find their motivation.

— Mary Ellen Kundrat, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in ,

Motivational Interviewing seeks to increase levels of motivation for those who are feeling stuck in an unhelpful behavior pattern - I use it throughout therapy, though it is an evidence-based practice for substance users or those experiencing difficulty complying with medication or medical protocols. I engaged in Motivational Interviewing training throughout my graduate program and have completed continuing education units since that time.

— Amy Lajiness, Therapist in La Jolla, CA

I use the five principles of Motivational Interviewing: 1) Expressing empathy through reflective listening. 2) Show the difference to the client between their goals/values and their current behavior. 3) Shifting away from direct confrontation. 4) Adjusting to the client's resistance rather than opposing it directly. 5) Validate self-supporting behaviors and client optimism.

— Christine Turo-Shields, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Greenwood, IN

Sometimes people who come to therapy aren't sure they want to change, or they aren't sure how to go about doing something different. With Motivational Interviewing, we discover what's most important to you and how to live your life in accordance with those values.

— Catherine Humenuk, Clinical Social Worker in The Colony,

I use the following skills to assist me with helping clients reach for change with MI: Express empathy through reflective listening. Develop discrepancy between clients' goals or values and their current behavior. Avoid argument and direct confrontation. Adjust to client resistance rather than opposing it directly. Support self-efficacy and optimism.

— Precious-Pearl Sie-Duke, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Cary, NC

Often people come to therapy not sure what if anything they are willing to change. Sometimes they have been forced to come, due to family and loved ones, or they have come themselves, but they are unsure how much they want things to be different. I help individuals engage in a process where they can explore what change means to them and why or why not they may be willing to change certain behaviors.

— Joy Zelikovsky, Psychologist in ,

There is so much to be learned by what we say and don't say. By asking you the right questions to why your life is not working for you, you can uncover common patterns that are causing you distress.

— Christine MacInnis, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Torrance, CA

Have you ever tried to set a goal and just can't seem to make any meaningful progress on it? I'm experienced in helping clients identify their block and develop achievable goals to improve. We can develop a plan that allows you to have an easy-to-understand outline with daily goals that you feel comfortable working on. We can work together every step of the way and make adjustments as needed.

— Frankie Grixti, Counselor in Hartsdale, NY

I received extensive training in motivational interviewing during my internship at a Veterans Affairs hospital. Motivation interviewing is an evidence-based technique that helps people to make healthy changes in their lives to improve their overall physical and mental health. Highly effective treatment technique for many types of problems.

— Adam Clark, Psychologist in Houston, TX

As a former eating disorders clinician, one of the most challenging tasks for myself and clients was to balance their need for life saving care with their active resistance and fear of it. From these experiences I learned that patience, awareness and cuirosity are key in every session.

— Alexandra Hinton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

Motivational Interviewing, which includes Stages of Change, developed out of Carl Rogers' Humanistic Psychology. His approach was based on listening so that clients find their own solutions. Started with these basic principles, this work will assist you in reaching your goals while resolving ambivalence.

— Julene Weaver, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

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

Motivational Interviewing Certificate 2012

— Xavier Quinn, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Bedford, NH

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

— Ivy Hall, Psychologist in , CA

I have been trained to help you through Motivational Interviewing to integrate specific goals for positive change and/or bring acceptance into your life. I offer detailed techniques to encourage you to achieve your stated desired behavior. I use our therapeutic relationship to empathetically confront your concerns, followed by Socratic questioning to help you discover your thought processes. We use your experiences to strategize solutions. The goal is to help you reinforce specific behaviors.

— Alan Zupka, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in ORLANDO, FL

I like to use MI when I find that a client has a hard time seeing the good in their life. I want to bring that out because light attracts light. I want my client's to know that they have a strength inside of them sometimes it just hiding.

— Salina Schmidgall, Counselor in Manchester, MO

Motivational interviewing is an important tool I use in my practice to empower patients and change their negative thinking about themselves and the world around them.

— Jenny Friedman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Coral Gables, FL

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

I use Motivational Interviewing (MI) when working with someone that wants to change something. Maybe you want to change a habit, an addiction, or choices you are making and want to become a better version of yourself. MI helps me as a therapist elicit your internal motivation to change, as that remains more effective than someone else telling you to change. I have completed several trainings in MI and use it daily in my practice across a variety of situations.

— Shannon Heers, Licensed Professional Counselor in Englewood, CO