Motivational interviewing (MI) is seen as a therapeutic technique developed to engage resistant consumers/patients in the process of change. Some researchers define MI as a direct and client-centred method that enhances intrinsic motivation to change by resolving and exploring ambivalence (Bricker & Tollison, 2011). While being guided by four principles (sympathy, discrepancy, resistance and self-efficacy), MI actively involves a collaborative relationship that emphasizes self-efficacy, consumer choice and the overall responsibility of the client to determine life goals. It has in this case been recently used as a brand in medicine, psychotherapy, public health and addictions. This paper hopes to offer an analysis of motivational interviewing as depicted by different literature.
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As expressed by Carlbring, Jonsson, Josephson and Forsber (2010), MI is a treatment approach that handles various dependency disorders including drug use and alcohol consumption. MI also has a skilled counselling style that enhances intrinsic motivation to change through exploring and resolving ambivalence. In their literature, Carbring and his colleagues also agree with the four principles expressed by Bricker and Tollison.
While comparing motivational interviewing with acceptance and commitment, Bricker and Tollison (2011) literature observed that MI is one of the emerging therapeutic approaches that concentrate on commitment. MI also considers the use of values of a client in order to enhance commitment to behaviour change. This is achieved through adopting the client’s own language in order to achieve set goals.
Motivational interviewing is further considered as an evocative technique that can be used to enhance progression during the stages of change. As argued by Walpole et al (2011), this concept assumes that an individual’s readiness to change is dynamic and variable. Consequently, different therapeutic techniques will be considered more constructive depending on the readiness for change. MI is therefore more useful to those people who are at early stages of change by helping them move from being unwilling to change to considering the possibility of change and being determined to make the change.
Motivational interviewing also adopts a person-centred approach to counselling. According to Deci and Ryan (2012), being responsive to and acknowledging the feelings of a patient is important for their wellness and growth. In line with other literature on MI, Deci and Ryan further argue that promoting the autonomy and wishes of a patient is important in MI.
In agreement with other researchers, Patrcik and Williams (2012) agree that motivational interviewing has been used in recent years to intervene and understand health behaviour. They further argue that MI is based on some concepts that include self-efficacy, cognitive discord and fundamental attributions which are expressed in some social-cognitive theories and social-psychological approaches. MI may have also drawn on other theories which regard the centeredness of patients. Through MI, medical practitioners are able to make recommendations when patients ask for advice and encourage openness during the provoking-change talk. Patrick & Williams however criticize MI for being largely theoretical hence questioning its effectiveness in dealing with patients. Should MI in this case continue being used for health interventions?
As clearly seen, most researchers have considered motivational interviewing as a brand-related and a contextual statement of mind which is context-dependent and characterized by various levels of emotional, cognitive and behavioural activity in brand interactions. It may therefore be linked with other theories and therapies that deal with cognitive and behavioural cases.
Bricker, J. & Tollison, S. (2011). Comparison of Motivational Interviewing with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Conceptual and Clinical Review. Behavioural Cognitive Psychotherapy, 39(5), 541-559.
Carbring, P., Jonsson, J., Josephson, H. & Forsberg, L. (2010). Motivational Interviewing Versus Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy in the Treatment of Problem and Pathological Gambling: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 39(2), 92-103.
Deci, E. & Ryan, R. (2012). Self-Determination Theory in Health Care and Its Relations to Motivational Interviewing: A Few Comments. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(24), 1-6.
Patrcik, H. & Williams, G. (2012). Self-Determination Theory: Its Application To Health Behaviour and Complementarity With Motivational Interviewing. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(18), 1-12.
Walpole, B., Dettmer, E., Morrongiello, B., Mccrindle, B. & Hamilton, J. (2011). Motivational Interviewing As an Intervention to Increase Adolescent Self-Efficacy and Promote Weight Loss: Methodology and Design. Bio-medical Journal of Public Health, 11(459), 471-459.