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Motivational Interviewing (MI)


Jun 8, 2023

Reviewed by:

Ben Pearson, LCSW

"Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented approach that enhances intrinsic motivation and promotes behavior change by exploring and resolving ambivalence." - National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling technique that focuses on facilitating behavior change by exploring and strengthening an individual's own intrinsic motivation. It is a collaborative and person-centered approach that helps individuals resolve ambivalence and move towards positive change by eliciting and amplifying their own motivations, values, and goals.


  • Engaging: Establishing rapport, building trust, and creating a supportive environment.

  • Focusing: Identifying the specific behavior or issue that the individual wants to address and exploring their reasons for change.

  • Evoking: Eliciting the individual's own motivations, values, and goals related to the behavior change. Using open-ended questions, reflective listening, and affirmations to enhance intrinsic motivation.

  • Planning: Collaboratively developing a concrete plan of action that is feasible, specific, and tailored to the individual's needs and preferences.

  • Consolidating: Strengthening commitment to change, discussing potential barriers, and providing ongoing support and encouragement.



  • Increased engagement in health-promoting behaviors (e.g., exercise, healthy eating)

  • Improved adherence to medical treatment plans

  • Enhanced self-care practices and disease management