Motivational Interviewing (MI)


What it Is

Originally developed to help clients resolve their ambivalence around substance use or abuse, Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based philosophy and method which can be used to help people find and utilize their intrinsic motivators to create change.  This is a client centered yet directive approach that is empathetic, and reflective, and non-confrontational. For example, a person may not be able to follow through with specific suggestion of the therapist until they realize why it would be important to them, and come to this realization on their own, but with guidance of the therapist. 

How it Works

Using the “Stages of Change Model” as a guide for the therapist and client’s assessment, the goal is to help clients move towards “Action,” and then the “Maintenance” stages of behavioral and cognitive change. This is achieved by the implementation of validating and reflective listening techniques. This graphic describes the “Stages of Change Model,” with some examples:



Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Rubak, S., Sandbæk, A., Lauritzen, T., & Christensen, B. (2005). Motivational interviewing: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Gen Pract, 55(513), 305-312.