Article MI 1

Motivational Interviewing

Many have heard the buzz about motivational interviewing (MI) and its success for the past several years. However, beyond the buzz, many still have questions about what MI is or isn’t as well as how to incorporate concepts of MI into everyday client interactions.

What is MI is not:
• a way of tricking people into doing what you want them to do;
• a technique for giving better advice;
• the same as client-centered therapy;
• easy to learn;
• a counseling “tool”.

What MI is:
• Focuses on the present;
• None directive;
• None judgmental and empathic;
• A counseling method to facilitate:
o intrinsic motivation;
o awareness of potential problems and solutions;
o envisioning a better future;

The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing

Before embarking on learning and implementing the various concepts of MI, let’s start by outlining the spirit of this approach. By understanding the spirit or intrinsic qualities of MI, you will be on your way to understanding this technique. Here are some key components that capture the spirit of motivational interviewing:
• Collaboration: working in partnership;
• Evocation: drawing out ideas and solutions;
• Autonomy: supporting self-efficacy;
• Empathy: careful and attentive listening.

By first refining these micro-skills you will be better able to understand and practice motivational interviewing. Watch for more articles with tips on how to use different MI techniques in everyday consumer interactions and caseload management.

Contributed By

Anna Nickolai

Benefits and Employment Specialist

More about Anna | View all articles by Anna


Kate Kingree

Ticket to Work Program Manager

More about Kate | View all articles by Kate

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