Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a short-term, practical therapeutic intervention (originally developed by by clinical psychologist William R. Miller and clinical psychologist Stephen Rollnick in the 1980s to support patients with substance use issues) to help people change addictive behaviours aiming to strengthen personal motivation and commitment to a specific behavioural change. It is a collaborative and goal-oriented approach, requiring the therapist/counsellor and the client to work together on an agreed aim.
It is most useful for people who are feeling ambivalent about change and want help to move out of an equivocal stage where self-confidence and desire to change is low, into a stage where they feel more driven, more understanding of the benefits of change, and more confidence in their own ability to affect it.
How Does motivational interviewing Work?: This is a person-centred evidence-based therapy approach to behaviour change and involves enhancing a patient’s desire and applied motivation to change by engaging them with motivational interviewing techniques using four general principles (R.U.L.E):
- Resist the righting reflex
- Understand the patient’s own motivations
- Listen with empathy
- Empower the patient
Motivational interviewing is formulated as a method of communication rather than an intervention, it is sometimes used on its own, or can be woven into other forms of psychotherapy modalities.