Motivational interviewing (MI) refers to a counseling approach in part developed by clinical psychologists Professor William R Miller, Ph.D. and Professor Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D. The concept of motivational interviewing evolved from experience in the treatment of problem drinkers, and was first described by Miller (1983) in an article published in Behavioural Psychotherapy. These fundamental concepts and approaches were later elaborated by Miller and Rollnick (1991) in a more detailed description of clinical procedures. Motivational interviewing is a semi-directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with non-directive counseling, it's more focused and goal-directed. Motivational Interviewing is a method that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client in order to change behavior. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is a central purpose, and the counselor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal.
Motivational interviewing recognizes and accepts the fact that clients who need to make changes in their lives approach counseling at different levels of readiness to change their behavior. During counseling, some patient may have thought about it but not taken steps to change it while some especially those voluntarily seeking counseling, may be actively trying to change their behavior and may have been doing so unsuccessfully for years. In order for a therapist to be successful at motivational interviewing, four basic skills should first be established. These skills include: the ability to ask open ended questions, the ability to provide affirmations, the capacity for reflective listening, and the ability to periodically provide summary statements to the client.
Motivational interviewing is non-judgmental, non-confrontational and non-adversarial. The approach attempts to increase the client's awareness of the potential problems caused, consequences experienced, and risks faced as a result of the behavior in question. Alternately, therapists help clients envision a better future, and become increasingly motivated to achieve it. Either way, the strategy seeks to help clients think differently about their behavior and ultimately to consider what might be gained through change. Motivational interviewing focuses on the present, and entails working with a client to access motivation to change a particular behavior, that is not consistent with a client's personal value or goal. Warmth, genuine empathy, and unconditional positive regard are necessary to foster therapeutic gain (Rogers, 1961) within motivational interviewing. Another central concept is that ambivalence about decisions is resolved by conscious or unconscious weighing of pros and cons of change vs. not changing (Ajzen, 1980). It is critical to meet patients/clients where they are (Prochaska, 1983), and to not force a client towards change when they have not expressed a desire to do so.
Motivational interviewing is considered to be both client-centered and semi-directive. It departs from traditional Rogerian client-centered therapy through this use of direction, in which therapists attempt to influence clients to consider making changes, rather than non-directively explore themselves.
Four General Principles 
Motivational interviewing is considered to be both client-centered and semi-directive. It departs from traditional Rogerian client-centered therapy through this use of direction, in which therapists attempt to influence clients to consider making changes, rather than non-directively explore themselves. Motivational interviewing is based upon four general principles:
- Express empathy, guides therapists to share with clients their understanding of the clients' perspective.
- Develop discrepancy, guides therapists to help clients appreciate the value of change by exploring the discrepancy between how clients want their lives to be vs. how they currently are (or between their deeply-held values and their day-to-day behavior).
- Roll with resistance, guides therapists to accept client reluctance to change as natural rather than pathological.
- Support self-efficacy, guides therapists to explicitly embrace client autonomy (even when clients choose to not change) and help clients move toward change successfully and with confidence.
The main goals of motivational interviewing are to establish rapport, elicit change talk, and establish commitment language from the client. For example, change talk can be elicited by asking the client questions, such as "What makes you think this is a problem for you?" or "How does ______ interfere with things that you would like to do?" It is important to keep in mind that client behavioral issues are common in the process of motivational interviewing. Change often takes a long time, and the pace of change will vary from client to client. Knowledge alone is usually not sufficient to motivate change within a client, and relapse behaviors should be thought of as the rule, not the exception. Ultimately, therapists must recognize that motivational interviewing involves collaboration not confrontation, evocation not education, autonomy rather than authority, and exploration instead of explanation. Effective processes for positive change focus on goals that are small, important to the client, specific, realistic, and oriented in the present and/or future.
While there are as many variations in technique as there are clinical encounters, the spirit of the method, however, is more enduring and can be characterized in a few key points:
- Motivation to change is elicited from the client, and is not imposed from outside forces
- It is the client's task, not the counselor's, to articulate and resolve his or her ambivalence
- Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence
- The counseling style is generally quiet and elicits information from the client
- The counselor is directive, in that they help the client to examine and resolve ambivalence
- Readiness to change is not a trait of the client, but a fluctuating result of interpersonal interaction
- The therapeutic relationship resembles a partnership or companionship
Ten stages and processes 
- Consciousness-Raising—increasing awareness through information, education, and personal feedback about the healthy behavior.
- Dramatic Relief—feeling fear, anxiety, or worry because of the unhealthy behavior, or feeling inspiration and hope when they hear about how people are able to change to healthy behaviors.
- Self-Reevaluation—realizing that the healthy behavior is an important part of who they are and want to be.
- Environmental Reevaluation—realizing how their unhealthy behavior affects others and how they could have more positive effects by changing.
- Social Liberation—realizing that society is more supportive of the healthy behavior.
- Self-Liberation—believing in one’s ability to change and making commitments and re-commitments to act on that belief.
- Helping Relationships—finding people who are supportive of their change.
- Counter-Conditioning—substituting healthy ways of acting and thinking for unhealthy ways.
- Reinforcement Management—increasing the rewards that come from positive behavior and reducing those that come from negative behavior.
- Stimulus Control—using reminders and cues that encourage healthy behavior as substitutes for those that encourage the unhealthy behavior.
Adaptations of motivational interviewing 
It is a time-limited four-session adaptation used in Project MATCH, a US-government-funded study of treatment for alcohol problems and the Drinkers' Check-up, which provides normative-based feedback and explores client motivation to change in light of the feedback.
Motivational interviewing is supported by over 80 randomized clinical control trials  across a range of target populations and behaviors including substance abuse, health-promotion behaviors, medical adherence, and mental health issues.
- Motivational interviewing techniques
They are sometimes used in a corporate environment as part of the human relations process. Corporations may also use the techniques during sales and marketing presentations and during workshop sessions allied to conventions and conferences. Using some of the techniques in this different environment is not properly called Motivational Interviewing, as MI is a therapeutic method that always contains the best interests of clients, not a set of techniques used to influence others to act in ways that are to the benefit of the individual using the techniques.
- Limitations of Motivational Interviewing
Many studies using MI have specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. For example, Project MATCH excluded those who were homeless and involved in the criminal justice system. A randomized trial in drug abuse services conducted by Miller and Rollnick (2002) provided Motivational Interviewing sessions to patients in order to elicit behavior change by exploring and resolving ambivalence. They enrolled 152 outpatient and 56 inpatient clients who were entering a public agency for drug problems. The researchers reported and excluded clients if they reported insufficient residential stability.
This is not an attempt to take away from the credibility of Motivational Interviewing or any Motivational Interviewing research. It seems to work very well with specific groups in specific environments. Future interventions must include every client entering the facility under study (within the parameters of informed consent) or they will not represent real world clinical activities (Patterson, 2008 & 2009).
Applications of Motivational interviewing 
Examples of fields in which motivational interviewing is being applied include:
- Substance dependence
- Health Coaching
- Mental disorder
- Problem gambling
- Dual Diagnosis
- "Motivational interviewing".
- Shannon, S; Smith VJ, Gregory JW (2003). A pilot study of motivational interviewing in adolescents with diabetes. Arch Dis Child 88. pp. 680–683.
- Handmaker, NS; Miller WR, Manicke M (2001). Pilot study of motivational interviewing 86. pp. 680–683.
- "Motivational Interviewing".
- "Motivational Interviewing: An evidence-based approach to counseling helps patients follow treatment recommendations". AJN, American Journal of Nursing. October 2007.
- Miller, W.R., Zweben, A., DiClemente, C.C., Rychtarik, R.G. (1992) Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual. Washington, DC:National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- Brodie, D.A.; Inoue, A., & Shaw, D. G. (2008). "Motivational interviewing to change quality of life for people with chronic heart failure: A randomised controlled trial". International Journal of Nursing Studies 45 (4): 489–500. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.11.009. PMID 17258218.
- Cummings, S.M.; Cooper, R.L., & Cassie, K.M (2009). "Motivational interviewing to affect behavioral change in older adults". Research on Social Work Practice 19 (2): 195–204. doi:10.1177/1049731508320216.
- Hanson, M; Gutheil, I. A. (2004). Motivational strategies 49.
- "Motivational Interviewing: Explore Your Readiness for Change".
- "Motivational interviewing: a lecture from William Miller".
- Amrhein, Paul C.; Miller, William R.; Yahne, Carolina E.; Palmer, Michael; Fulcher, Laura (2003). "Client commitment language during motivational interviewing predicts drug use outcomes". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 71 (5): 862–78. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.71.5.862. PMID 14516235.
- Freedman, J; Combs, G. (1996). "Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities". New York:Norton.
- "Transtheoretical Model".
- Miller, W.R.; J. J. Onken, L. S., & Carroll, K. M. (Eds.) (2000). "Motivational Enhancement Therapy: Description of Counseling Approach". National Institute on Drug Abuse: 89–93.
- Miller, W.R.; Rollnick, S. (2002). "Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People to Change'". Guilford press.
- Miller, W.R.; Zweben, A., DiClemente, C.C., Rychtarik, R.G. (1994). "Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual". Washington, DC:National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Bundy, C (2004). "Changing behaviour: using motivational interviewing techniques". JRSM 97: 43–47.
- Puska, P; Nissinen A, Tuomilehto J, Salonen JT, Koskela K, McAlister A, Kottke TE, Maccoby N, Farquhar JW. (1985). "The community-based strategy to prevent coronary heart disease: conclusions from the ten years of the North Karelia project". Annu Rev Public Health 6: 147–193. doi:10.1146/annurev.pu.06.050185.001051. PMID 3873246.
- Burke, Brian L; Arkowitz Hal, Menchola Marisa (October 2003). "The efficacy of motivational interviewing: a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials". J Consult Clin Psychol 71 (5): 843–861. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.71.5.843. PMID 14516234.
- "substance dependence".
- "Health coaching".
- "Mental disorder".
- "Problem gambling".
- "Dual diagnosis".
|This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (July 2011)|
- Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 978-0139364358.
. Brennan, T. (1982) Commitment to Counseling: Effects of Motivational Interviewing and Contractual Agreements on Help-seeking Attitudes and Behavior. Doctoral Thesis:University.of Nebraska.
- Miller, W.R. and Rollnick, S. Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People to Change, 2nd ed. NY: Guilford Press, 2002. ISBN 978-1572305632.
- Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. New York: Guilford Press.
- Rollnick, S., Heather, N., & Bell, A. (1992). Negotiating behaviour change in medical settings: The development of brief motivational interviewing. Journal of Mental Health, 1, 25-37.
- Patterson, D. A. (2008). Motivational interviewing: Does it increase retention in outpatient treatment? Substance Abuse, 29(1), 17-23.
- Patterson, D. A. (2009). Retaining Addicted & HIV-Infected Clients in Treatment Services. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Publishing House Ltd. ISBN 978-3639076714.
- Prochaska, J. O. (1983). "Self changers vs. therapy changers vs.Schachter." American Psychologist 38: 853-854.
- Rogers, Carl (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy. London: Constable. ISBN 1-84529-057-7.
- Rollnick, S., Miller, W.R., & Butler, C.C. "Motivational Interviewing in Health Care: Helping Patients Change Behavior". NY: Guilford Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59385-613-7.
- Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. Motivational Interviewing, 3rd ed. Guilford Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-60918-227-4.
- "Dual Diagnosis Treatment and Motivational Interviewing for Co-occurring Disorders" in National Council Magazine 2007
- NIAAA web site: Project MATCH, MET treatment manual
- Steve Rollnick official website
- Motivational Interviewing Glossary and Fact Sheet, Kathleen Sciacca, 2009
- Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) website