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Motivational Interviewing

written by Jake Colton November 17, 2014

What is Motivational Interviewing?

The definition of Motivational Interviewing (MI) has evolved and been refined since the original publications on its utility as an approach to behavior change. The initial description, by William R. Miller in 1983, developed from his experience in the treatment of problem drinkers.

Stages of Change

Motivational Interviewing emphasizes the importance of understanding the client’s current stage of change and matching the intervention to help the client progress through that stage. For example, techniques appropriate for clients in an action stage of change (e.g. giving advice and tracking goals) are ineffective in earlier stages and may even drive the client further away from recovery.

The stages of change are the following:

Precontemplation – Client doesn’t believe he or she has a problem (e.g. denial).

Contemplation – Client acknowledges a problem but is currently unwilling or unable to do anything about it. At this stage the client perceives an equal amount of costs and benefits of the target behavior.

Preparation – Client wants to make a change and within this stage the client begins to explore options, prioritizes possible steps for change, and sets goals.

Action – Client begins making changes. Focus shifts to skills training, tracking progress, and strengthening commitment.

Maintenance – Client is able to continue progress with decreased effort while maintaining commitment to recovery.

Motivational Interviewing Training is needed for an advanced understanding on how to accurately assess a client’s stage of change.

Motivational Interviewing Techniques

Motivational Interviewing techniques focus on exploring and resolving ambivalence and centers on motivational processes within the individual that facilitate change.

For example, “double-sided reflections” highlight discrepancy and cognitive dissonance. Clients are gently forced to see and resolve the tension created from their stated goals and maladaptive behavior.

Advanced Motivational Interviewing training is needed to 1) learn Motivational Interviewing techniques, and 2) accurately and dynamically match the appropriate MI techniques to the client’s stage of change.

Individual Motivational Interviewing training and consultation is also available.

To learn more or schedule a Motivational Interviewing training feel free to call or email us through our Open Avenue contact page.

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