Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Accredited Practising Dietitian
PACFA Accredited Supervisor

Motivational Interviewing

The individual is a garden to be tended not a machine to be repaired. MI doesn’t analyse the broken machine. It tends and cultivates the garden. Stephen Andrew LCSW, LADC, CCS, CGP

Why is Motivational Interviewing (MI) good for clients?

Motivational Interviewing is a form of collaborative conversation for strengthening a person's own motivation and commitment to change Miller and Rollnick 2013

In another voice: MI is empowering and deeply respectful.

For the client, the experience of participating in a conversation based on the spirit and skills of Motivational Interviewing is one of being heard, affirmed and challenged to think deeply about what matters to them and the change they are contemplating in their lives. MI guides the client to consider clearly and with heart, from their own knowledge, what is happening and what could happen with regards to experiementing with new behaviours. 

The experience for the client is one of being trusted to be in the driver's seat of their change process.

What sets MI apart from traditional advisory health interventions?

Traditional advisory health interventions typically operate on a 'deficit model' wherein the client is viewed as lacking some sort of knowledge or insight which the practitioner can 'fix' by educating and instructing via their own expertise. Whilst this may be a great match for the needs of a client wanting clear advice for management of illness or crisis, the evidence base demonstrates clearly that this traditional way of assisting people does not work well in contexts where the client is ambivalent about change.

Motivational Interviewing starts with the assumption that the client already has the resources and much of the knowledge required to improve their behaviours in meaningful ways, if they so choose. The client is viewed as the expert in their lives. In MI, it is the practitioner's job to gently guide the client to tap into their resources and harness their knowledge into a focused plan when they are ready. The MI practitioner takes responsibility for offering information or advice when requested by the client, in a manner that is useful to the client's decision making process.

Motivational Interviewing respects that ambivalence about change is completely normal and part of the human condition. It understands that ambivalence does not respond well to judgement, education, threats or coercion but rather focuses on understanding and eliciting from the person trying to change their own wisdom about their unique situation and desire for change.

This form of conversation is held in the context of the 'Spirit' of Motivational Interviewing (MI).  The 'Spirit' of MI is adopted by the practitioner with the express purpose of providing compassionate, effective, client centered support.

The features of this Spirit include:

  • Partnership
  • Acceptance
  • Evocation
  • Compassion

Why is MI good for the Practitioner?

MI enables the practitioner to be more effective and to stop wasting time on strategies that do not work!

Motivational Interviewing offers that it is not the practitioner's job to force or 'make' change happen. This fresh perspective on the role of the health practitioner invites the practitioner to skill up and get clear on what is their role and what work belongs to the client. It's a game changer that can help minimise burn out and infuse challenging work with new meaning, purpose and compassion for our working community, both colleagues and clients alike.

Are you a Practitioner interested in learning more about Motivational Interviewing?

....come on over the Tara's Motivational Interviewing Events page HERE 

Tara is a member of MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers) a not-for-profit organisation based in USA with international membership. Members of MINT have a central interest to improve the quality and effectiveness of counselling and consultations with clients about behaviour change. Members of MINT must complete a rigorous application process and attend a three day MINT approved training prior to gaining membership.