Updated: Aug 17, 2021
What would I get from a motivational interviewing session?
MI is a psychotherapeutic approach and comes into its own, especially, when people feel ambivalent about change. Ambivalence is, of course, that see-saw scenario many of us find ourselves in: ‘I’d like to cut back on my drinking, I know it’s not good for me, but I also like to feel that altered head space and take the edge off…’
Where MI comes in, is that it is especially useful for resolving such ambivalence whether that relates to substance use, eating or other volitional behaviours we would like to start (or stop) i.e., essentially in clients where there are reasons to change and reasons to stay the same, constantly competing with each other.
MI has become a front-line approach in many Healthcare and medical settings and has been developing since the early 1980’s really as a result of the musings of an effective clinical psychologist who answered questions from student-interns who effectively asked: ‘when the client says X why did you do Y?’ that clinical psychologist was Professor Bill Miller and he alongside Professor Steve Rollnick and now a whole host of other researchers, practitioners and trainers have continued to develop MI in the intervening 40 years.
Typically, the ‘interview’ is designed to help find and strengthen a client’s desire, ability, reasons and even needs to change. Although MI is a stand-alone psychotherapeutic approach it often fits in with other types of therapy (for example cognitive behavioural therapy) and is used in a variety of settings.
Dr Trevor Simper a psychotherapist practising in Perth (WA) is also a motivational interviewing trainer researcher and practitioner.