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


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

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

— Ivy Hall, Psychologist in Berkeley, CA

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

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, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

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 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

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 Vancouver, 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

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

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 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

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

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