About Motivational Interviewing

About Motivational Interviewing


Motivational Interviewing, commonly known as MI, is a style of communication that offers a practical, common-sense approach to support people in making and sustaining healthy behavior changes. While motivation belongs to the individual and their process of change, motivation can be substantially enhanced or hindered by interactions with others, including and especially, health care practitioners.

MI focuses first on the “why” of change, rather than the “how” of change. It assists individuals to better understand their own ambivalence to change and works to engage and strengthen both intrinsic motivation for, and commitment to, change. There is a specific focus on language, both the clinician’s and the patient’s so that the conversation is guided towards helping the patient make the case for change instead of the clinician working to convince, tell, and educate.

As French philosopher, Blaise Pascal wisely said so many years ago, “People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come in to the mind of others.”

MI was originally developed in the addictions field and continues to grow in applications, including health care, where behaviors are both important to change and sometimes difficult to change. MI has a significant evidence base demonstrating its efficacy across a range of populations, target behaviors, and medical conditions.