Motivational Interviewing: A Comprehensive Guide

Motivational Interviewing: A Comprehensive Guide

Do you ever feel like you need more motivation to achieve your goals? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people struggle with maintaining motivation over an extended period of time. Thankfully, there is a type of counseling that can help: Motivational Interviewing (MI). In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss what MI is, the benefits of using it, and how to get started with it.

What Is Motivational Interviewing?

What Is Motivational Interviewing?Motivational interviewing is a counseling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior. It is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence.

According to studies, it is an effective method for treating a variety of psychological issues and disorders, especially those related to addiction and substance abuse.

The key to motivational interviewing is building a rapport with the client and establishing trust. The therapist then works with the client to explore their values and goals. The therapist helps the client develop a plan of action to achieve their goals once these have been identified. Therapists who practice motivational interviewing use a number of techniques to help clients resolve ambivalence and increase motivation.

MI Is Based On Four Main Principles

It is believed that motivational interviewing is based on four main principles:


This is the first principle of motivational interviewing and it refers to the therapist respecting the client’s right to make their own decisions. The therapist should avoid being overly directive and instead help the client explore their options and find their own motivation for change.


The second principle is collaboration, which refers to the therapist working with the client as a partner in treatment. This means that the therapist should avoid taking a “one size fits all” approach and instead tailor treatment to meet the individual needs of each client.


The third principle is empathy, which refers to the ability of the therapist to understand and share the feelings of the client. This includes both verbal and nonverbal communication, such as body language and tone of voice.


The fourth and final principle is respect, which refers to the therapist treating the client with respect and dignity. This includes creating a safe and nonjudgmental environment where the client feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Techniques Used In Motivational Interviewing

Techniques Used In Motivational InterviewingMotivational interviewing is used to help individuals make lifestyle changes. It is a collaborative conversation where the interviewer works with the individual to explore ambivalence about change. And to identify the personal motivation for change.

There are four main techniques such as:

Open-ended questions

Asking open-ended questions allows the individual to express their thoughts and feelings without feeling interrogated. It is often used to build rapport and trust. Furthermore, open-ended questions are used to elicit change talk.

  • “What are your thoughts about changing?”
  • “How do you feel about that?”
  • “Tell me more about that.”

Reflective listening

Reflective listening is a way of showing the individual that you are actively listening to them. It involves repeating back what they have said, either in your own words or verbatim. This technique helps to build rapport and trust, as well as clarify the individual’s thoughts and feelings.

  • “So what you’re saying is…”
  • “It sounds like you’re feeling…”

This eventually helps the individual to arrive at their own solution.


Summarizing is used to help the individual see the big picture and understand all that has been discussed. It is also a way of showing empathy and validation. In simple words, summarizing is defined as repeating back the major points of the conversation.

  • “So far we’ve talked about…”
  • “Let me see if I have this right, you’re saying that…”
  • “So, let me see if I’ve got this straight… “
  • “It sounds like you’re saying… “
  • “Is there anything else you want to add?”


Affirming is a way of showing support for the individual’s efforts and choices. It helps to build self-esteem and motivation. In fact, in motivational interviewing, affirmation is used more frequently than praising.

  • “That’s a great choice!”
  • “I’m glad you made that decision.”
  • “You must feel proud of yourself.”
  • “That sounds like a difficult decision, but you’re handling it well.”

These are some of the main techniques used in motivational interviewing. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, visit the website and learn more about this therapy with the Mantra Care team.

What Are The Benefits Of Motivational Interviewing?

What Are The Benefits Of Motivational Interviewing?There are numerous benefits of this therapy. It is, in fact, considered an effective tool for an individual. For a clear list of benefits, look at the following points;

  • Helps individuals to explore and resolve ambivalence about change.
  • Increases motivation for change.
  • Assists individuals in clarifying their goals.
  • Builds confidence in an individual’s ability to change.
  • Facilitates the development of a plan for change.
  • It builds self-efficacy and enhances problem-solving skills.
  • It strengthens commitment to change.

If you are struggling with making changes in your life, or you feel stuck, motivational interviewing may be a helpful tool for you.

However, it is important to keep in mind that each person is different and will respond to different approaches in therapy. What works for one person, may not work for another. It is important to find a therapist who you feel comfortable with and who uses an evidence-based approach that you feel could work for you.

What To Consider For Motivational Interviewer?

When you are looking for a motivational interviewer, you want to find someone who is not only knowledgeable about the topic. But also has a passion for it. You also want to make sure that they have a good understanding of human behavior and how to change it. Additionally, they should be able to build rapport easily and be patient with their clients.

So here are some of the things to consider when finding the right motivational interviewer for you:

  • Look for the licensed ones. Just like any other profession, motivational interviewing is a regulated field. So make sure that your potential interviewer has the required license to practice in your state.
  • Check if they have liability insurance. This will protect you in case something goes wrong during the session.
  • Look for someone who has experience. While it’s not necessary, it would be ideal to find someone who has worked with clients similar to you. This way, they would be able to understand your specific needs and cater the session according to that.
  • Ask for referrals. If you know anyone who has recently gone through a behavior change, ask them for recommendations. This way, you can be sure that you are working with someone who has helped others achieve their goals.

Now that you know what to look for in a motivational interviewer. Then, it’s time to start your search! Ask around, check online directories, and make sure to interview several candidates before making your final decision. Motivational interviewing can be a powerful tool for change. But only if you work with the right person.

How To Get Started?

How To Get Started?There are a few key things to keep in mind when you decide to get started with motivational interviewing.

  • First, it is important to remember that this is a collaborative process between you and the individual you are speaking with.
  • Second, be sure to focus on the present and future, rather than dwelling on the past.
  • Finally, avoid judgment and instead show empathy and understanding. Also, be sure to listen more than you speak.

By following these simple tips, you will be well on your way to mastering the art of motivational interviewing. If you can keep these things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to successfully using motivational interviewing techniques!

Additional Tips:

  • Start by building rapport with the individual. This will help create a foundation of trust which is essential for the rest of the conversation.
  • Try to avoid yes/no questions as they can often lead to defensive responses. Instead, ask open-ended questions.
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. Both can impact the direction of the conversation.
  • Finally, be prepared to discuss both the positive and negative aspects of change. Change is never easy, but it is important to discuss both the good and bad that can come from it.

Motivational interviewing is a great tool to use when trying to get someone to change their behavior. By keeping these simple tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro at it!


To conclude, motivational interviewing is a great way to encourage positive change in someone’s life. It is non-judgmental, empathetic, and collaborative. If you want to learn more about motivational interviewing, consider taking a course or attending training.

If you are looking for ways to help someone in your life make positive changes, consider using motivational interviewing techniques. This type of therapy is based on the principles of autonomy, partnership, and evocation. It is non-judgmental and focuses on supporting the individual’s own motivation for change.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to make changes. However, motivational interviewing can be a helpful tool in supporting someone. Thank you for reading! I hope this article was helpful.

A Word From Therapy Mantra

Your mental health — Your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At TherapyMantra, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, workplace Issues, addiction, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.