What is Motivational Interviewing?
Motivational Interviewing is a patient-centered approach to counseling. During sessions, the counselor guides the patient to help identify their own internal resources. This helps to develop a realistic action plan unique to their individual needs and goals. The basis of the practice is to partner with the client and identify the changes that will impact their lives by understanding their resources, ideas, desires, and needs. Evidence-based techniques that include active listening and evocative questions help the patient work through doubt and ambivalence. During the process, patients will learn to identify their potential and the steps they will take to achieve it.
What are the Benefits?
The spirit of Motivational Interviewing is a fluid and interactive approach. Practitioners understand that the technique enhances awareness and empowers individuals through non-judgmental, respectful approaches that recognize a person’s abilities and potential. During this process, the patient, not the counselor, is the expert on the patient. The responsibility of change shifts from the counselor to the individual making the changes. The core of Motivational Interviewing includes:
- Partnership – Respect the patient’s perspective and be open to their ideas about change.
- Acceptance – Actively listen with the goal of understanding the patient’s world and perspective.
- Compassion – Commit and act to promote the welfare of the patient by truly listening and making an effort to understand them.
- Evocation – People already have within them much of what is needed to make changes – elicit the patient’s ideas about change and help them to focus on commitment to those ideas.
Motivational Interviewing at Gateway Foundation
Gateway Foundation counselors receive ongoing training and supervision in Motivational Interviewing and follow the spirit and these four key principles in their clinical approaches:
- Engaging the patient where they are
- Helping them to focus on the issues affecting their lives
- Evoking creative ideas about how to make change
- Helping to formalize a plan of action
A key part of our addiction therapy services, Motivational Interviewing allows the patient to gain control over the course of their addiction treatment program and make changes in their lives. It creates the optimism and confidence that are often lacking and in doing so helps each individual recognize their greatest potential.
“The spirit of Motivational Interviewing – listening to the patient’s story, affirming them and partnering – can be used across the board, but the greatest benefit of the practice is in the resolution of ambivalence,” says A’nna Jurich, executive directive at Gateway Foundation Carbondale. “As counselors, we often set out to invoke ambivalence as we help people recognize there may be a need to change, and that change is possible.”
What the Research Says
Motivational Interviewing was first developed by William R. Miller, Ph.D., and Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D., in the early 1990s and extensive research supports the efficacy of its outcomes. Statistics support that people make more lasting changes when they have an active part in planning those changes.