Motivational Interviewing (MI)

What is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling approach that assists individuals in finding the internal motivation they need to change their behaviors. It acknowledges the inherent difficulty of change and promotes self-determination and self-efficacy as tools to facilitate personal growth and transformation.

What does MI help with?

Motivational interviewing is particularly beneficial for those who are ambivalent towards or contemplating making changes to their behavior, but do not yet feel ready to take actionable steps towards that change. Motivational interviewing helps individuals explore internal arguments for and against change, as well as their readiness, importance and confidence in the identified behavior change. By developing greater insight into one’s behaviors and the discrepancies between current behaviors and desired goals, individuals move towards commitment to changing their behavior.

What are the stages of change in MI?

The stages of change include:

  • Precontemplation: Lack of recognition of problematic behaviors and no motivation to change.
  • Contemplation: Recognition of the problem and consideration of change in the foreseeable future.
  • Preparation: Readiness for action, initiating small steps towards behavior change.
  • Action: Active modification of behavior and adoption of new, healthier habits.
  • Maintenance: Sustained change over time with an intention to continue new behaviors.
  • Relapse: Acknowledged as a normal part of the change process, with strategies for trigger recognition and relapse prevention to maintain change.

What are the MI principles?

MI is grounded in empathy, establishing a non-judgmental and supportive environment where individuals can explore their behaviors without criticism. It builds a safe, non-judgmental environment to express care and concern. Through motivational interviewing techniques, therapists help individuals identify discrepancies, or identify the mismatches, between where they are and where they want to be, facilitating a new understanding of themselves and their behaviors. Rather than challenging or opposing behaviors, thought, or feelings, therapists offer different ways of seeing or interpreting a given situation. Lastly, motivational interviewing works to support self-efficacy – the belief that one has what it takes to make a change.

Is MI right for you?

Motivational Interviewing is ideal for those who recognize the need for change but feel ambivalent about taking the necessary steps. It is not suited for individuals in the precontemplation stage who do not acknowledge their behaviors as problematic, nor is it needed for those already actively making changes.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is used in the treatment of…

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