Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique that was introduced by psychologist William R. Miller in 1983 and further developed by Miller and psychologist Stephen Rollnick. It is often used to help clients identify and address the ambivalence or resistance they may feel towards making changes in their lives. This approach can be particularly helpful for individuals who have been diagnosed with conditions such as depression or anxiety, as they may feel stuck or hopeless about their ability to recover.
In a typical motivational interviewing session, a therapist may start by asking open-ended questions to help the client explore their feelings, beliefs, and motivations. The therapist will then use reflective listening to help the client clarify their thoughts and feelings and develop a deeper understanding of their condition.
The goal of motivational interviewing in mental health treatment is to help the client develop their own strategies for managing their symptoms and improving their mental health. The therapist will not offer advice or tell the client what to do, but rather will guide them towards developing their own solutions.
For example, a client with depression may feel overwhelmed by the idea of making lifestyle changes such as exercising or eating healthier. A therapist using motivational interviewing might help the client explore their own motivations for making these changes, such as improving their energy levels or reducing their stress. The therapist might then help the client develop a plan for making these changes that is tailored to their individual needs and preferences.
Motivational interviewing is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy or treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or medication management. Motivational interviewing can be a valuable tool for therapists working with clients with mental health conditions. It empowers individuals to take ownership of their own treatment and can help them develop the skills and strategies they need to manage their symptoms and improve their mental health.
What Does Motivational Interviewing Look Like in a Therapy Session?
Here is a possible example of a motivational interviewing session between a therapist and a patient with depression:
Therapist: “Hi, thanks for coming in today. Can you tell me a bit about what’s been going on for you lately?”
Patient: “I’ve been feeling really down lately. I just don’t have any energy and I can’t seem to get motivated to do anything.”
Therapist: “I hear you. It sounds like you’ve been feeling pretty stuck lately. Can you tell me more about what it’s been like for you?”
Patient: “Yeah, it’s been really hard. I used to enjoy going out with my friends and doing things, but now I just feel like I can’t get out of bed.”
Therapist: “That sounds really tough. Can you tell me more about what you think might be contributing to these feelings?”
Patient: “I don’t know. I just feel like everything is pointless. What’s the point of doing anything when it doesn’t make me happy?”
Therapist: “I can understand why it might feel that way. Can I ask, what do you think might happen if you continue feeling this way?”
Patient: “I don’t know. I guess things will just keep getting worse.”
Therapist: “It sounds like you’re feeling pretty discouraged. Can I ask, what do you think might be different if you were feeling more motivated and engaged in your life?”
Patient: “I don’t know. Maybe I’d feel like things were worth doing again.”
Therapist: “That’s a really important insight. Can we talk about what might be helpful in getting you there?”
Patient: “I don’t know. I guess I need to find something that makes me happy again.”
Therapist: “That’s a great place to start. Can we explore what some of those things might be, and what steps you can take to make them a part of your life again?”
This is just one example of how a motivational interviewing session might play out with a patient with depression. The therapist uses open-ended questions, reflective listening, and empathy to help the patient explore their own motivations and develop their own strategies for managing their symptoms and improving their mental health. The therapist helps the patient identify a small step they can take to start feeling more engaged in their life, and supports them in developing a plan to make it happen.
In follow-up sessions, the therapist may use open-ended questions, reflections, affirmations, and summaries to help the client to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the target behavior or issue. The therapist may also elicit the client’s values, priorities, and goals to help guide the direction of the session.
What Are The Advantages to Motivational Interviewing?
There are many advantages to a therapist using motivational interviewing in their practice. Here are some of the most notable benefits:
- Collaborative approach: Motivational interviewing is a collaborative approach that emphasizes the client’s autonomy and active participation in the therapeutic process. This helps to create a sense of partnership between the therapist and the client, which can increase engagement and investment in treatment.
- Client-centered: This approach is client-centered, meaning that it focuses on the client’s goals, values, and priorities. This can increase the relevance and personal meaning of therapy, which can help to improve outcomes.
- Non-judgmental: Motivational interviewing is non-judgmental and non-confrontational, which can help to reduce resistance and defensiveness. This can create a safe and supportive environment for clients to explore their ambivalence and make positive changes.
- Strengths-based: This approach is strengths-based, meaning that it focuses on the client’s existing strengths and resources. This can increase self-efficacy and confidence, which can help to motivate clients to make positive changes.
- Versatile: Motivational interviewing can be used in a variety of therapeutic settings and with a range of client populations. It can be used as a standalone intervention or in combination with other therapeutic approaches.
Overall, motivational interviewing can be a valuable tool for therapists seeking to help their clients make positive changes and achieve their goals. Its collaborative, client-centered, non-judgmental, strengths-based, and versatile approach can help to increase engagement, motivation, and positive outcomes.
How to Get Started with Therapy Near Me
Most of our therapists uses Motivational Interviewing in conjunction with other approaches during therapy. If you’d like to get started, please call 412-322-2129 or fill out the form below.