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What Is Motivational Interviewing?

Two people talking about motivational interviewing's definition

Motivational interviewing, developed by William R. Miller in 1983, has evolved over the last 40 years but remains a widely used tool in addiction treatment. Motivational interviewing is effective at transforming denial and ambivalence into acceptance and motivation. If you are interested in motivational interviewing in Denver, Colorado, reach out to Mile High Recovery for information about our addiction treatment and how motivational interviewing works.

Reach out to Mile High Recovery Center to learn more about motivational interviewing or motivational enhancement therapy in Colorado. Call 855.796.2102 today.

Motivational Interviewing Definition

Motivational interviewing is a collaborative, person-centered form of guidance to elicit and strengthen someone’s motivation toward change. This intervention is used effectively in U.S. addiction treatment centers. At Mile High Recovery Center, our staff seeks to improve a client’s intrinsic motivation, which may be muted by fear, anxiety, denial, and uncertainty. This improvement is made by exploring and resolving ambivalence.

One of the most fundamental tenets of motivational interviewing is the value of empathy in the process. Motivational interviewing therapists must truly understand their clients’ perspectives and approach every exchange compassionately and without judgment.

What Is Motivational Interviewing Like?

Clients should never feel pushed, cajoled, or guilted into changing their ways. They should be seen and heard as their authentic selves and empowered by the process.

Three essential elements imbue motivational interviewing with its underlying inspiration and purpose:

  • Collaboration vs. confrontation – In a partnership between the client and the therapist, a rapport forms, in which trust can develop. This partnership contrasts with the hierarchical relationship that often forms between therapists and clients, in which the therapist is the expert who confronts the client with perspectives they are not equipped to understand. Motivational interviewing is about collaboration, in which both partners reach mutual understanding.
  • Drawing out ideas vs. imposing them – As a client functions increasingly well in a collaborative model, they and their therapist discuss matters from a non-threatening position. The therapist’s role is to draw out the client’s ideas. By helping facilitate a client’s discovery of their reasons to consider changing behaviors or choosing a different path, the therapist avoids making them feel challenged or confronted. The therapist does not have to convince the client of anything because they discover they have the motivation and skills needed to change.
  • Autonomy vs. authority – A client maintains independence through this process. There is no expectation that the therapist is the authority in how they should behave or live. The therapist helpfully provides experience, knowledge, and information without being the decider. There is no proper or correct way to transform a client’s life. The client gets to determine what their options are and how they will go about achieving the changes they want.

By asking clients open-ended questions, providing them with affirming support, and being a reflective listener, a motivational interviewing therapist can create a safe place where clients feel empowered to find their way to recovery.

Mile High Recovery Center Provides Motivational Interviewing in Denver, CO

If you enroll in our addiction treatment facility feeling ambivalent, scared, or unsure of your ability to see it through, it may provide you some relief to find out that you are not alone in feeling this way. It is common for people to show up to rehab riddled with doubts and unsure of anything. Motivational interviewing will provide a safe, comfortable place to land after detox. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself seeking change on your terms and beginning recovery from a position of strength. Learn more about motivational interviewing and how it helps those struggling with addiction by calling Mile High Recovery Center at 855.796.2102.

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