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Motivational Interviewing

  • By: Fiona McMaster & Kenneth Resnicow
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a person-centered counseling style used to help people change health behaviors. It was developed by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick as an alternative to more direct forms of addiction counseling. More than 200 clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy across a range of clinicians, target populations, and behaviors. This entry gives an overview of MI, highlighting its key principles and techniques.

Key Principles

The spirit, or ethos, of MI embodies empathy, respect, and patient autonomy. Specific techniques that are used to develop and enhance this spirit include reflective listening, open-ended questions, shared decision making, and eliciting change talk. The MI counselor strategically balances the need to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Through these techniques, an individual is encouraged to explore his or ...

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