Motivational Interviewing

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What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a framework for therapy that focuses on helping people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities by identifying the motivation needed to change their behaviour(s). MI recognizes that change is difficult at the best of times; it’s normal to have mixed feelings and thoughts. MI evokes the individual’s internal motivation to take steps toward change as well as their belief that they can change. It is usually combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about MI and how Bloor West Therapy can help.

When Motivational Interviewing is Used

MI can be a helpful addition to someone’s mental health treatment plan. It’s commonly used to help with addiction, anxiety and depression. However, it can also be helpful with certain illnesses — particularly when making behavioural changes can improve a health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and more. If someone is unprepared or unwilling to get started, their therapist may incorporate MI to help them move through the necessary steps to find motivation.

Frequently Asked Questions

William R. Miller developed motivational interviewing and gave its first description in 1983. This method of therapy was developed from Miller’s experience treating those who had issues with alcohol or other substances.
Yes, motivational interviewing is an evidence-based approach that helps people change their behaviours and better adhere to treatment. There are various scientific studies indicating its effectiveness in many different situations.
Occasionally, motivational interviewing is used alongside CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help a client take on a more directive and goal-focused approach. MI helps the client ready themselves for change. Meanwhile, CBT actively helps a client change their thoughts, feelings and/or behaviours.
Absolutely! As with any therapy, it depends on the individual and their situation. However, various studies have shown MI to be effective for encouraging behavioural changes, including quitting smoking, losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, and more.
Research has shown that a client’s narrative or self-talk statements greatly impact whether or not they actually make a change. During MI, the therapist guides the client toward expressing and discussing change and then uses this as a pathway to inspire action.
"Self-compassion allows you to see and accept yourself as you are. It is not about being selfish or self-indulgent, it is about seeing the reality, vulnerability, and beauty of the shared human experience."
Stefani Trovato
Clinical Associate, MPsy
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