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One approach that I may use when working with clients is Motivational Interviewing, a communication technique that respects the individual and believes that the motivation to change or not comes from within the client

Motivational Interviewing

     Developed in th 1980s by Miller and Rollnick, Motivational Interviewing (MI) has been defined as a method of communication to move individuals towards change. It is first important to understand the "spirit" of MI which is very client-centered. This means establishing collaboration with the client, focusing on the client's motivation for change, and honoring the client's autonomy to decide to change. There are also four guiding principles in MI:

  1. Expressing empathy

  2. Developing discrepancy

  3. Rolling with resistance 

  4. Supporting self-efficacy

There are two main phases in MI with strategies under each phase:

  • Phase 1: Increasing motivation for change

    • Open-ended questions​

    • Affirmations

    • Reflections

    • Summaries

    • Identifying Change Talk (desire, ability, reasons, need, commitment, activation, taking steps)

  • Phase 2: Consolidating the commitment to change

    • Transitional Summary to propel clients through the change process

    • Key Questions to elicit change talk and assess readiness to change

    • Information and advice given only at the request of the client

    • Change plan that includes setting goals, exploring options, and arriving at a plan

From: Miller, w. R. & Rolnick, S. (2012). Motivational Interviewing: Helping people change. 3rd Ed. Guilford Press: New York.

To learn a little more about how these components fit together you can watch this video:

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