Motivational Interviewing is a well-known, scientifically tested method of counselling clients developed by Miller and Rollnick and viewed as a useful intervention strategy in the treatment of lifestyle problems and disease.
The concept of motivational interviewing evolved from the experience of treating alcoholism, and was first described by Miller in 1983.1 This basic experience was developed into a coherent theory, and a detailed description of the clinical procedure was provided by Miller and Rollnick,2 who defined motivational interviewing as a ‘directive, client-centered counselling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence’. Miller and Rollnick’s theory also draws inspiration from Carl Rogers’ work on non-directive counselling, described in 1953.3
The examination and resolution of ambivalence is the central purpose of non-directive counselling, and the counselor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal. Motivational interviewing is a particular way of helping clients recognize and do something about their current or potential problems. It is viewed as being particularly useful for clients who are reluctant to change or who are ambivalent about changing their behavior.
The strategies of motivational interviewing are more persuasive than coercive, more supportive than argumentative, and the overall goal is to increase the client’s intrinsic motivation so that change arises from within rather than being imposed from without.