Program > Motivational Interviewing

What is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?

What is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?

Dr Paul O’Halloran, MINT trainer, describes MI:

Motivational interviewing is a psycho-therapeutic approach to health care that attempts to move an individual away from a state of indecision or uncertainty and towards finding motivation to making positive decisions and accomplishing established goals. It is a non-confrontational, collaborative effort between therapist and patient to spark motivation and initiate change. The therapist becomes a person of support, engaging with the patient to explore his or her feelings, including ambivalence about changing, and helps the patient find their own motivations.

The aim of MI is to:

Advance disease knowledge

Promote problem solving

Facilitate health behaviour change

The key principles of motivational interviewing are to:

Express empathy

Acceptance facilitates change

Skilful reflection is fundamental

Ambivalence is normal

Develop discrepancy

Awareness of consequences is important

A discrepancy between present behaviour and important goals will motivate change

Avoid argument

Arguments are counterproductive

Defending breeds defensiveness

Resistance is a signal to change strategies

Labelling is unnecessary for change

Roll with resistance

Momentum can be used to good advantage

Perceptions can be shifted

New perspectives are invited but not imposed

Support self-efficacy

The belief in the possibility of change is an important motivator

The young person is responsible for choosing and carrying out personal change

The young person should present arguments for change 

Four Guiding Principles – RULE

R – Resist the righting reflex

U – Understand your patient’s motivations

L – Listen to your patients

E – Empower your patients