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What can motivational interviewing help with?

Motivational interviewing was originally developed to address addiction, but today it can help treat alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, smoking, weight management, physical health conditions such as diabetes, and medication adherence. The principles of motivational interviewing can help people with many conditions and in many situations in which they’re struggling with ambivalence about making substantial changes in their life.

Who is a certified or qualified motivational interviewing therapist?

Certification is not required to practice motivational interviewing, but it’s valuable to find someone who has training and experience in this approach. Motivational interviewing involves specific techniques—such as supporting the patient’s self-efficacy and being collaborative rather than confrontational—a practitioner with training and experience can help patients achieve the best results.

What are the key principles of motivational interviewing?

Four key principles are foundational to motivational interviewing. They are expressing empathy (listening attentively and reflecting back on the patient’s sentiments), supporting self-efficacy (supporting the patient’s belief in themselves), rolling with resistance (exploring solutions to resistance rather than pushing back against it), and developing discrepancy (identifying differences between the patient’s present behaviors and future goals to find viable solutions).

How do I recognize a good motivational interviewing therapist?

The core of motivational interviewing is discovering the client’s motivation for change and supporting them through obstacles to implement those changes. A good motivational interviewer, therefore, is someone who can put aside their beliefs and opinions to truly empathize with the patient and understand their perspective, as well as someone who is a creative problem-solver and clear communicator.