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What is Motivational Interviewing?

Often, the question on what motivational interviewing features is on most people’s mind especially during the terms first encounter. Motivational Interviewing can be described as a form of treatment usually evidence-based whereby it works by facilitating and occasionally engaging in intrinsic motivation within a client with the aim of influencing a behavioral change. In other words, the query on what is motivational interviewing can be described as helping affected individuals address issues touching on ambivalence to change.

Essentially, this systematic process is achieved through an intervention where patients are helped to discover their interests in making a change, express in their words on their desires for change, and examine their existing ambivalence to the change in question.

what is motivational interviewing

Motivational Interviewing Applicable Scenarios

Further, motivational interviewing is tasked with planning and beginning the process of change, empowering the change talk, boosting client’s confidence by taking action and noticing shifts albeit small, and strengthening their resolve to grow. Ideally, motivational interviewing can be used across many disciplines in the society including alcohol and substance abuse, mental health care, nursing, vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, criminal justice among others.

Primarily, ambivalence comes about as a result of conflicting feelings regarding the process and final outcomes occasioned by the sought after change. To get to understand what is motivational interviewing, we are going to analyze the four core principles behind the process.

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Expression of Empathy Through Reflective Listening

For any counseling based treatment, it is vital that you show empathy towards the patient’s behavior. The feeling of association and being understood will make the client feel at ease and ready to open up. In contrast, failing to show empathy will have the client jump to the defensive mode consequently making the process a tough one. Importantly, the patient should be listened to and given time to talk about how they are feeling.

Seek to Develop Discrepancy

When the client’s been given an ear to talk to, it is paramount that now you establish some difference between client’s behavior and their goals or values. This way, the client will understand how their responses do not match to what they seek to achieve. However, it is crucial that you avoid, as much as possible, any argument or confrontation that may ensue. Remember that this is a process that is solely based on active engagement between both parties and any confrontation may destroy any form of trust that may have been established.

Adjust to the Client Resistance Instead of Opposing it Head-On

It is important that the counselor accommodates whatever resistance that may come from the client rather than having to resist directly to avoid a looming fall-out in the process already made. Ideally, the client at this point is already aware of the consequences from their actions but continually repeats them all together. Therefore, it is upon the counselor to approach any opposition they may encounter with a lot of caution so as to prevent a likely breakdown of the communication and have a successful interview.

what is motivational interviewing

Advocate Self-Efficacy and Optimism

The client must be helped to elicit and support hope and optimism to fully utilize the motivational interview. Additionally, it is important that they are encouraged to accomplish the change that they desire. In doing so, it is important to recognize your client’s strengths continuously, and you should highlight them at any opportunity that you get. Noteworthy, a client, has to believe in change for them to pursue the process to its logical conclusion. On the contrary, if they do not believe in the change, they will result in denial or even rationalization as a means to reduce the discomfort that may be caused and thus deny the opportunity of realizing motivational interviewing primary aim.

In essence, an open discussion with the client on the treatment or any change options that may be available can be beneficial irrespective of the fact that they may have had a relapse in prior sessions. It is highly recommended to regularly talk about previous success stories to empower the patients further. In fact, it is even better to mention other clients who have undergone similar programs. Education may serve as an excellent tool to improve the client’s self-efficacy. Therefore, credible and accurate information can help the clients in the process.

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What is Motivational Interviewing?
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