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

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 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 technique that I use with Choice Theory to help you understand your motivations and goals. Sometimes we know what we need to be doing and want to be doing, but we are stuck and can't get started. I use motivational interviewing as a way to help you get unstuck and moving toward your goals.

— Angie Kelly, Counselor

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

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

I utilize Motivational Interviewing to help people make choices in their recovery that provides the outcome they want in line with their values.

— Luis Otero, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Miami Lake, FL

Motivational Interviewing is a client-centered and targeted approach to therapy. It provides a direction for therapy that is rooted in your value system. You and I will work together as a team to uncover your goals, and explore how to leverage your intrinsic strengths to meet those goals. Motivational Interviewing is at the heart of my training both as a social worker and an addictions professional.

— Kian Leggett, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA

Motivational Interviewing is a technique used to put you in charge of your own therapy. I'm here to guide you, certainly, but the change needs to come from within you. I will ask questions and find ways to motivate you to make changes at a pace that you are comfortable with.

— Kirk Sheppard, Counselor in ,

Motivational Interviewing is a therapy model with so many tools. One of the most exciting parts of my role as a therapist is finding out how motivated someone is to change and where that motivation comes from. Not everyone is ready to make big changes immediately, but with the help of Motivational Interviewing, I am able to genuinely meet the client where they are at in the process and guide them to a solution that does not compromise who they are but still offers a positive outcome.

— Michelle Cantrell, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate

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

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

Trained to provide MI and typically always incorporate into sessions.

— Ashley Hilkey, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Bloomington, IN

We all need a push sometimes to help us find hope, motivation, encouragement. It is beneficial to utilize this technique when working with those who are seeking change, ready to take action, and are open to learning and pinpointing how some behaviors they are engaging in are not in line with their values and goals.

— Emily Loeber, Counselor in Simpsonville, SC

Show the utmost respect for the individual by focusing on their goals, and their own ideas for reaching them. Create an environment that is safe and comfortable, that fosters exploration and enlightenment.

— A Compass Within, Mental Health Counselor in Rochester, MI

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

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

I have trained for several years in Motivational Interviewing and provided supervision to therapists to improve their results in counseling by using Motivational Interviewing practices.

— Allison Welliver, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

This theory goes well with the field of substance abuse in that it requires motivation to stop using a substance. It is my hope that I can help individuals move through the stages of change and face the fear that comes with making big life changes.

— Alex Claussen, Counselor in Toledo, OH

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

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

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 Saint Louis, MO

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

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

Motivational Interviewing involves the use of counseling techniques such as: Discovering Discrepancies (behavior is not matching goals) Expressing Empathy (encouraging interaction and not condemnation) Avoiding Arguments (being strength-focused and not weakness-focused) Rolling with Resistance (the barrier is the pathway) Supporting Self-Efficacy (improvement in self-esteem, self-worth, and purpose in life)

— Charles Allen, Counselor in Dunedin, FL