Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an approach to working with clients that encompasses a collaborative, person-centered guidance that strengthens the motivation for change. The core process of MI is to build a respectful therapeutic rapport in a counselling relationship. MI is particularly helpful to support a client through identifying, analyzing and resolving uncertainty in changing one’s own behaviour. Motivational interview requires three elements:
- Collaboration: a partnership between therapist and client that is directed by the viewpoints and experiences of the client. Through collaboration, there is a mutual understanding about the nature of the problem and what changes are necessary towards goal achievement.
- Evoking Change: clients are encouraged to discover their own reasons for changing and the barriers towards that change.
- Autonomy or Independence: Clients are taught to recognize the power for change within themselves. Clients are empowered to take responsibility for their actions and create a toolbox of strategies to achieve desired outcomes.
There are four main principles that underlie Motivational Interviewing:
- Expressing empathy: By providing an empathetic therapy environment, the therapist is able to understand the client’s experiences as experienced by the client. This approach supports clients in feeling understood and validated.
- Supporting self-efficacy: By using a strengths-based approach, clients are shown that they have resilient qualities that need to be nurtured and cared for so that they are able to achieve and maintain changes.
- Rolling with Resistance: When a client experiences conflict between their problems and the available solutions, resistance to change can occur. In MI, the client is encouraged to define the problem and develop solutions that resonate with them, while exploring new healthier viewpoints.
- Develop discrepancy: Clients may experience a discrepancy of their progress towards future goals and their current state of well-being. By showing clients how their current behaviours and thoughts impact their progress towards goals, they are better able to increase their own motivation to make the necessary changes.