Motivational interviewing uses the common human problem of ambivalence about change to help clients shape their own solutions.
Motivational interviewing is a way of being with a client, not just a set of techniques for doing counseling. Miller and Rollnick, 1991
The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing is based on these 4 key elements: collaboration, evocation, autonomy, and compassion.
The 5 Primary Principles of Motivational Interviewing:
1. Express Empathy. Using empathy creates a safe and open environment building rapport and eliciting personal reasons and methods for change. Foundational to MI is understanding each client's unique perspective, feelings, and values. The technique is most successful when a trusting relationship is established between you and your client.
2. Develop Discrepancy. Motivation for change is enhanced when clients perceive discrepancies between their current situation and their hopes for the future. Your task is to help focus attention on how current behavior differs from ideal or desired behavior.
3. Avoid Argument. You may occasionally be tempted to argue with a client who is unsure about changing or unwilling to change. Trying to convince a client that a problem exists or that change is needed may create more resistance. Progress is made when the client, not you, voices arguments for change. Walk, don't drag.
4. Roll with Resistance. Resistance is always a legitimate concern because it is predictive of poor treatment outcomes and lack of involvement in the therapeutic process. Rather than viewing the behavior as defiance, it can be more helpful see it as a signal for you to change direction or listen more carefully.
Motivational interviewing (MI), first described by William R. Miller, PhD, in 1983, is a form of collaborative counseling that elicits, explores, and engages a client's own motivation for change. Foundational to the method is the common human problem of ambivalence about change; that ambivalence can be used to support a behavioral shift that is congruent with a client's own values and concerns.Â The MI literature is vast. Following is a very small taste of MI theory, followed by additional resources.