Six Words that Describe Motivational Interviewing
“MI begins with the assumption and honouring of personal autonomy: that people make their own choices, and that such power of behavioural choice cannot be appropriated by another” Miller and Rollnick (2009).
MI helps people bring into awareness and clarify the things they truly value in their life. It helps them to ask themselves a question; ‘given that these things are so important to me, am I happy with the life I am living?’.
MI employs core communication skills, such as questions and reflective listening, to direct people to explore whether there current behaviour is consistent with what truly matters in their life.
MI is highly sensitive to discord in the relationship and makes it a central task to create an empathic space to ensure a strong alliance. With this strong alliance, MI tries to help people give voice to their reasons for change, whilst diminishing their reasons against.
MI is elegantly simple – but not easy. Some authors have suggested that becoming competent in MI can take up to 200 hours of supervised practice (Tober and Raistrick, 2007).
MI is one of the best researched behavior-change interventions with over 200 Randomised Controlled Trials addressing a wide range of health behaviours from substance use through to improving parenting skills. The U.K. National Institute of Clinical Excellence have recommended it as a behavioural intervention for a number of populations, including drug using adolescents, gay men at risk of HIV and for all people that misuse alcohol.
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