Motivational Interviewing

“Motivational Interviewing is a person-centered, goal-oriented method of communication for eliciting and strengthening intrinsic motivation for positive change"

 –Miller and Rollnick, 2010


There are several components of motivational interviewing (MI).  These include MI Spirit, MI Principles, Open ended questions, Affirmations, Reflections, and Summaries (OARS), and Strategy.  All of these components are necessary to be MI, but none of them are sufficient on their own to be MI.  There is a common misconception that MI is simply using good communication skills or that if a person is skillfully using OARS they are doing MI.  This is not the case. 

MI is a set of skills that takes some of the good communication skills that some people already have, gives them a foundation in MI Spirit and MI Principles, and uses them in a strategic way to help guide someone towards change by eliciting and reinforcing their own intrinsic motivations for change.

Motivational interviewing gives us strategic skills to
 use when talking about behavior change.  MI has an appropriate time and place, and will not be used all the time in every situation.  MI gives us a great tool to help someone work through their ambivalence (being pulled towards change and being pulled towards staying the same/not changing) about behavior change, build motivation for change, and work through the change planning process.

Motivational Interviewing 

The Motivational Interviewing website provides materials and resources designated to facilitate the dissemination, adoption and implementation of MI among clinicians, supervisors, program managers and trainers, and improve treatment outcomes for clients with substance use disorders.