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 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

Personal growth is so... personal. How could I know more than you of what you want and need at any given time? MI is a respectful system that helps you determine your own goals. I will not be telling you what to do or think; I will be there beside you listening carefully so that you can hear yourself. This way we can get you further down the road to knowing yourself and living your values.

— christine loeb, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Encino, CA

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

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

I have worked with Motivational Interviewing since before I began my work as a counselor. This theory helps an individual understand what they can get out of therapy and how to achieve the results they want. It looks at what can you do to help improve your life - finding the areas you would like to improve and then looking at ways to do it better.

— Taunya Gesner, Counselor in Gresham, OR

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

As an addiction professional for over 10 years, MI is a foundational method of helping a client move toward change.

— Gregory Gooden, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, 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 Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, 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

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

You are the one who decides what changes you want to make and we can explore that in a way that moves you in a direction that is aligned with our values.

— Lauren Hartz, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bridgeville, PA

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

4+ years utilizing Motivational Interviewing

— Lesley Shiver, Licensed Professional Counselor in Knoxville, TN

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

Especially useful for young adults and for those who may not be completely ready to make changes, Motivational Interviewing is a non-confrontational and empathetic technique to help you move from considering change to acting on and maintaining desired behaviors.

— Paul Abodeely, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, 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

Motivational Interviewing is a technique that really gets my clients to articulate their reasons for wanting to change. In a supportive manner we will explore your need for change, and the reasons why you want to change. I love this approach because it is client centered, increases the clients motivation, and allows the client to commit to the change. My role is to listen, reflect, and help my client make the changes necessary so that the can become a better version of themselves.

— Natasha Fortune, Counselor in Long Island City, NY

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, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Cincinnati, OH

I use Motivational Interviewing (MI) strategies in sessions when a client is perhaps stuck in some ambivalence about something. This approach helps clients clear up doubt and helps them guide me as the facilitator to streamline our sessions so that we really get somewhere. Ambivalence, doubt, and uncertainty are all normal but MI is a way to move through it with intention and increased clarity so that the client is then able to move into action.

— Charlotte Haefner, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based practice that is all about guiding you through open-ended questions to help you realize your strengths and success, and use those to help you overcome the struggles you are currently experiencing.

— Brenda McGrath, Clinical Social Worker in Burlington, VT