Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviews is a counseling technique that helps a counselor get a better idea of what level of readiness a client is at to be willing to make a change.  This technique is designed around a series of questions.  Therapists who use this technique realize that clients don’t always come to counseling at the same level of readiness to make a change. Some clients have been contemplating change while others may be actively trying to make changes with little to no success.

In order for a therapist to be successful at motivational interviewing, four basic interaction skills should first be established. A therapist needs to be able to ask open ended questions.  Asking one-word answer questions gives very little insight into the issues a client is trying to change. A therapist also needs to provide affirmations.  This is crucial for creating a quality counselor/client relationship. The remaining techniques include quality reflective listening and giving succinct summary statements.  These two skills allow a counselor to track a client and receive feedback that they are truly understanding the client’s issues. .These skills are used strategically, while focusing on a variety of topics, such as looking back, reflecting on a typical day, the importance of change, looking forward, and examining one’s confidence about behavior changes.

Motivational interviewing is non-judgmental, non-confrontational and non-adversarial.The approach attempts to increase the client’s awareness of the potential problems caused, consequences experienced, and risks faced as a result of the behavior in question. With this strategy, a client may see a better future and lead to motivation to make a change. The main goals of motivational interviewing are to engage clients, encourage change talk, and motivate to make positive changes from the client.

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