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.

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MI is a supportive approach when clients are in the pre-contemplation, contemplation, and preparation stages of change. Through rapport with the therapist, clients can look at areas where change is possible. It is a very empowering approach, as clients recognize that it is up to them to make changes. By recognizing that they are actively choosing their choices in life, clients recognize that they are ultimately responsible for the rewards and consequences that they experience in life.

— Erin Blasdel-Gebelin, Clinical Psychologist in New York, NY

I have attended over 100 hours of training in Motivational Interviewing and led training for other staff on techniques for 2 1/2 years.

— Colleen Steppa, Therapist in Phoenix, AZ

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

This approach is best suited towards those looking to make changes. I help the individual own the arguments for change, address mixed feelings and look at pros and cons to making changes. Generally, this method is geared towards those I help with substance use issues. However, the concept can be applied to many areas of life that we want to improve.

— Scott Bragg, Licensed Professional Counselor in Paoli, PA

Motivational interviewing is a tool that we all can use in our daily lives. The primary principles of this technique is to use open ended questions in order to deepen the understanding of motivation (stages of change), build rapport, be empathetic to meeting client's needs, and empower self efficacy.

— Heather Nemeth, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Western Springs, IL

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a person-centered strategy. It is used to elicit client motivation to change a specific negative behavior. MI engages clients, elicits change talk and evokes patient motivation to make positive changes. It can also be used to explore discrepancies that interfere with progress with making change.

— Barbara Morales-Rossi, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Monterey, CA

I have had extensive training in this technique and have been a member of MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers)

— Jamie Glick, Therapist in Castle Rock, CO

I was originally trained in MI almost 20 years ago and continue to use this approach today when working with substance use disorders, eating disorders, and other presentations too. I value the collaborative, respectful, and curious nature of this approach. With MI, clients and therapist work together to understand the pros and cons of certain behaviors, explore ambivalence, and empower clients to increase their motivation and capacity for change.

— Stacey Rosenfeld, Psychologist in Coral Gables, FL

I have completed two 21 hour training courses on integrating the approach of motivational interviewing in counseling approach. Motivational Interviewing is a counseling approach that is client-centered (you are the expert), counselor directed (I make observations and help increase awareness) focused on resolving inner conflict regarding change. This approach focuses on empowering clients to find their own meaning for, desire to, and capacity for change.

— Brandi Solanki, Counselor in Waco, TX

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a technique that helps clients deal with change and increasing motivation. MI aims to encourage the patient’s autonomy in decision making where the clinician acts as a guide, clarifying the patient’s strengths and aspirations, listening to their concerns, boosting their confidence in their ability to change, and eventually collaborating with them on a plan for change.

— Gina Zippo-Mazur, Licensed Professional Counselor in Jackson, NJ

Motivational Interviewing can be helpful in having my clients understand how their chosen actions are influencing quality of life. Sometimes we want to make changes, but, there's something holding us back. It's easy to sit on the fence and talk ourselves out of meaningful action. Motivational Interviewing can help us clarify our goals and get unstuck.

— Aimee Perlmutter, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Motivational interviewing (MI) helps to build a collaborative conversation that strengthens a person’s own motivation and commitment to change. The overall therapeutic style of MI is guiding you to change goals you are wanting to achieve within your life. It is a normal human experience to be ambivalent about change and shows you are one step closer to your goal. Using Motivational Interviewing therapeutically will help you explore your own reasons for changing in a safe environment.

— Marissa Harris, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Chicago, IL

Feeling stuck, confused, or unsure "what's next?" after a major personal or professional milestone? Or has a recent setback got you wondering where to go from here? One or two sessions of motivational interviewing (MI) can be an affirming, nonjudgmental way to explore your options and gain some clarity. We'll talk about how your values and choices fit together and figure out what's holding you back from change. MI works either as a standalone treatment or to help clarify your therapy goals.

— Benjamin Pfeifer, Clinical Psychologist in Ann Arbor, MI

Techniques used to help you find motivation internally for positive behavior change

— Amanda Lovin, Licensed Professional Counselor in Conyers, GA

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 Milford, CT

“MI is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” (Miller & Rollnick, 2013, p. 29)

— Thomas Jones, Clinical Social Worker