Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing

What is motivational interviewing?

Motivation is defined as a probability that a person will enter into, continue and adhere to specific change strategy. It is the counselor’s responsibility not only to dispense advice but also to motivate – to increase likelihood that the client will follow a recommended course of action to change. A counselor is like a salesman and motivation is inherent and central part of the professional task.

Principles of Motivation Interviewing

  • Some people need this, once unstuck, no longer immobilized by conflicting motivations, they have the skill and resources they need in order to make a lasting change
  • Important to people who are reluctant to change and endure ambivalent in changing
  • For others, motivational interviewing is a prelude to treatment
  • It creates openness to change which paves way for further therapeutic work Responsibility for change relies on the individual
  • This does not denote that therapists are powerless or helpless, they exert a lot of influence
  • The strategies are more persuasive than coercive, more supportive than argumentative ( the therapist creates a conducive environment for change)
  • The therapist is increasing client’s intrinsic motivation, so that change arises from within rather than being imposed from without
  • Done properly, client presents the argument for change, rather than therapist.
  • Motivation interviewing employs a variety of strategies especially derived from person centered therapy
  • Counselor may appear relatively active
  • But the motivational interviewing proceeds with a strong sense of purpose, clear strategies and skills for pursuing that purpose and a sense of timing to intervene in particular ways at particular moments.

Motivational Interviewing Approach

  • Systematically directs the client towards motivation for change Offers the counselor’s own advice and feedback where appropriate Empathic reflection is used selectively to reinforce certain processes
  • Seeks to create and amplify the client’s discrepancy in order to enhance motivation for change
  • De-emphasis on basis of labels; acceptance of “alcoholism” or other labels seen an unnecessary for change
  • Emphasize on personal choice and responsibility for deciding future behavior Therapists conduct the objective evaluation, but focuses on eliciting the client’s
  • own concerns
  • Resistance is seen as interpersonal behavior pattern influenced by therapists behavior
  • Resistance is met with reflection
  • Treatment goals and change strategies are negotiated between the client the therapist, based on data and acceptability. Client’s involvement in the process and acceptance of goals are vital

Treatment Approaches

  1. Individual approaches
  2. In patient counseling
  3. Participation in AA (Alcohol Anonymous) support groups
  4. Change can be enhanced by Cognitive approaches, Behavioral modification, Person centered Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy



  • Counseling dysfunctional families and children – they suffer from shame, anger, distorted thinking
  • The clients need to appreciated and accepted by the community to help them become productive members of the society

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