“MI is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” (Miller & Rollnick, 2013, p. 29)
Do you or loved one need to make changes in your behaviors or your life, but don’t know how? Have you tried but failed with past efforts? Motivational Interviewing (MI) may be a counseling approach that can help guide you onto the right path.
How I Use MI in My Practice
For the 16 years that I have been in practice, my mission has been to build positive partnerships with my clients. Relationships that are based in open communication, acceptance and trust. MI is an evidence-based approach, that reflects these values. I partner and collaborate with my clients to find the motivation to make healthy choices. As the clinician, I don’t instruct or direct my client but guide them. This approach is empowers people to change by supporting and encouraging them as they come to their own conclusions. It is particularly effective when a client is ambivalent or lacks the desire to make a change or doubts their ability to make a change. Its success is rooted in careful listening and the spirit of compassion, acceptance and affirmation.
Over the years, I have found it to be extremely helpful in working with a number of my clients, especially those dealing with substance use issues. From the start of our work together, I listen while my client shares their own perspective on their dilemma. Through thoughtful questions and responses, I support them as they hear their story in their own words. This perspective allows people to uncover options, confidence and commitment they already have within themselves. Often clients tell me they simply want a partner to help them find their own solutions. Motivational Interviewing is a communication style that helps us do just that.
I have extensive experience using MI in my practice. As a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, (MINT), I train mental health professionals to use this approach. Also, I work with Theory to Action, an organization of MI experts to help implement MI within organizations.
Processes of MI
- Engaging: This is the foundation of MI. The goal is to establish a productive working relationship through careful listening to understand. It involves and accurately reflecting the person’s experience and perspective while affirming strengths and supporting autonomy.
- Focusing: In this process, an agenda is negotiated that draws on both the client and practitioner expertise to agree on a shared purpose. Clinicians gain permission to move into a directional conversation about change.
- Evoking: In this process, the clinician gently explores and helps the person to build their own “why” of change by eliciting the client’s ideas and motivations. Ambivalence is normalized, explored without judgment and, as a result, may be resolved. This process requires skillful attention to the person’s talk about change.
- Planning: Planning explores the “how” of change where the MI practitioner supports the person to consolidate commitment to change. A plan are developed based on the person’s own insights and expertise.
If you want to learn more about Motivational Interviewing, please get in touch. It could be a helpful treatment approach for you or your child or teen, please get in touch. I am happy to tell you more.