Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a person-centered approach used to help clients develop internal motivation to change. This approach is effective in the treatment of substance use disorders. There are five principles in motivational interviewing that help the client progress towards change. The therapist expresses empathy by remaining nonjudgmental, conveying respect and acceptance, and engaging in active listening. The therapist also points out inconsistencies between the client's current actions and their core values and goals. The therapist refrains from arguing with the client and they also respond to client resistance by adjusting their approach. Finally, the therapist encourages self-efficacy by encouraging the client to assess their strengths and their ability to achieve change. Therapists using this approach will typically engage in reflective listening, ask open-ended questions, summarize themes, provide affirmations, and allow the client to find motivation from within.

For more information: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1999). Chapter 3—Motivational interviewing as a counseling style.Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US), Rockville (MD).