Have you ever felt like you needed a “pep talk” from a friend in order to get through a tough day? Motivational interviewing therapy is the ultimate pep talk, but the best part is that you don’t just listen to the therapist in an individual therapy program — you end up motivating yourself!
Motivational interviewing helps individuals tap into their own motivations, strengthen their commitment to change and set achievable goals. This therapeutic technique helps to break the cycle of starting, quitting and restarting an attempt to make positive changes.
Whom Does Motivational Interviewing Therapy Help?
Motivational interviewing can be applied to virtually all life circumstances in which a change or intervention is desired. It is particularly useful for:
With these behavioral health concerns, individuals often recognize that they need to make changes in their lives, but the very thing that needs to change (i.e., addiction) makes it difficult to find the motivation to do so. Motivational interviewing draws out a person’s own intrinsic motivation, and the therapist helps to plan a roadmap for lasting change.
What Happens During Motivational Interviewing?
There are four primary phases of motivational interviewing:
- Engage — The therapist asks questions about the individual’s hopes, struggles and concerns.
- Focus — The therapist asks questions that help the individual narrow down the specific behaviors that they would like to change.
- Evoke — The therapist asks questions that help the individual gauge their confidence in the change, their readiness and willingness to change, and their understanding of the importance of change.
- Plan — The therapist asks questions that allow the individual to identify specific steps to take in order to make the change.
With motivational interviewing, the therapist will never impose a set of ideas or be confrontational. Autonomy is always maintained, so the client chooses every step toward change. Because change is internally driven, it is more authentic and long-lasting.