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Motivational Interviewing: A Patient-Centered Approach to Elicit Positive Behavior Change

Course Number: 381

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a person-centered, goal directed method of communication for eliciting and strengthening intrinsic motivation for change.1

MI is a well-accepted strategy for behavior change consistent with contemporary theories of behavior change. The spirit of MI is defined by partnership, evocation compassion and acceptance exhibited through specific techniques and strategies. Through experience, Miller found the likelihood for positive change occurred more readily when the clinician connected the change with what was valued by the patient. He also found confrontational styles or direct persuasion are likely to increase resistance and should be avoided. MI is based on a theory that motivation is necessary for change to occur, resides within the individual and is achievable by eliciting personal values/desires and ability to change. It is based on allowing the patient to interpret and integrate health and behavior change information if perceived as relevant to his/her own situation. It acknowledges the patient is the expert in their own life. MI appears to be most effective for patients with low motivation to change behaviors as it encourages trust between clinician and patient and allows the clinician to focus on gauging readiness for behavior change.

four key principles of MI