How Motivational Interviewing Can Transform Your Life

Many people have ambivalent feelings about their mental health or substance abuse treatment. They may believe they should change but struggle with the motivation to do so.

Motivational Interviewing helps clients resolve their ambivalence by discovering intrinsic motivation to make change happen. A skilled counselor can do this by evoking the client’s strengths, values, and beliefs.

It’s Effective for Adults

If you’re struggling to make positive changes in your life, motivational interviewing may help. This counseling approach addresses ambivalence to bring about behavioral change. It’s often used to address addiction but can also be applied to mental health treatment and even the management of physical health conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

A therapist trained in motivational interviewing Ottawa can listen to you with empathy and compassion for your situation. They’ll be able to understand why you’re having a hard time making positive changes and will provide support and guidance.

During MI, your counselor will encourage you to explore your reasons for wanting to make positive changes in your life and help you find the internal motivations that will propel you toward those changes. It is a crucial stage in carrying out a treatment plan. A good suggestion is to combine motivational interviewing with a different psychotherapy or counseling strategy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, or Gestalt Therapy.

It’s Effective for Teens

Many people struggle to find the motivation to make positive changes in their lives. It can be incredibly challenging for teenagers. The psychologists who created Motivational Interviewing believe that a collaborative approach to treatment is critical in helping teens overcome the ambivalence that can prevent them from making healthy lifestyle changes.

Clinicians begin using MI by establishing trust and creating a judgment-free space for patients to share their reservations about changing their behavior. They also ask open-ended questions and offer affirmations to help teens feel supported as they explore their values and consider the advantages of change. Therapists may also use reflection techniques, such as repeating what they’ve heard or summarizing in their own words, to help clients know that they are understood. They may even encourage clients to use specific commitment language, which can help them strengthen their commitment to change. It can increase their confidence that they can succeed and create more talk about maintaining the desired behaviors.

Motivational Interviewing is a Client-Centered Approach

Motivational interviewing is an open, client-centered counseling style that builds intrinsic motivation to change. It’s a goal-oriented approach, but it’s less directive than other therapeutic styles and can be used by providers with varying clinical skills. Therapists using MI emphasize change talk and pay particular attention to commitment language. They also encourage clients to express ambivalence by expressing empathy and support. It helps clients feel supported and respected while working toward the desired changes.

Choosing a licensed mental health professional trained in motivational interviewing with experience with this therapy technique is essential. A qualified interviewer can understand and empathize with a client’s ambivalence about changing their behavior. They will help them find the right solutions to resolve their ambivalence and move forward with their plans for change. It is the only way to achieve lasting, positive change. Other approaches that emphasize coercion or persuasion create resistance to change in clients.

It’s Non-Judgemental

Unlike many other therapeutic techniques, motivational interviewing focuses on non-judgment. This type of counseling encourages therapists to listen to their clients’ reasons for change rather than imposing the counselor’s opinions on them. Patients seeking therapy may feel condemned by their poor past or needing help for an addiction or mental health condition. MI therapists use open-ended questions and strategic responses to explore a person’s values, goals, and self-perceptions. They also employ reflective listening strategies to demonstrate empathy, diffuse resistance, and increase confidence. For example, a therapist may ask clients about high-stress situations or high-risk activities to help them understand their current situation. They may then ask about what they might do to reduce their stress or risk in the future. It helps the client realize that they have the power to make changes themselves. It is called intrinsic motivation, which therapists strive to find in their patients.