Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change (Miller & Rollnick, 1983). It focuses on exploring and resolving ambivalence. It is a client-centered approach; it supports change by elevating clients’ own values and concerns, determining the discrepancy between the client’s behavior and their current goals or values, and adjusting to the resistance (rather than trying to oppose it). The “spirit” of MI is composed of three elements: 1. collaboration between the therapist and the client, 2. evoking the client’s ideas about change, and 3. emphasizing the autonomy of the client.
Through empirical research, the principles and methods of MI have been applied and tested in various settings. It has been established as an evidence-based practice, especially in the treatment of substance use disorders. MI is used by a range of health care professionals, from medical physicians to case managers, as it is a very helpful framework for discussion of any kind of potential change a person is contemplating. It is highly relevant for work in psychotherapy, as this is often the place where barriers for healthy change are addressed.
At Upaya, the spirit of MI helps inform the foundation of our work with all clients. We weave the principles, skills, and strategies of MI throughout our work, often while concurrently delivering other forms of evidence-based treatment.