The Theory and Practice of Motivational Interviewing

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Motivation is the driving force that some individuals need to move forward with goals of creating change. Motivational Interviewing (MI) in the group therapeutic context has a leader or therapist that aims to ascertain the underlying issues that may be maintaining a member’s behavior and blocking their motivation. The group therapy approach of Motivational Interviewing typically works well with homogenous groups that want to change some of the same types of behaviors. Alcoholics Anonymous is a group that MI is a great model to use. All of the individuals have a desire to change their behavior of not drinking alcohol. The uses of MI in groups are typically for individuals with the same types of issues, such as alcohol, drug addiction, eating disorders, and health management. In this paper, Motivational Interviewing will be of discussion by its history, evolution from the Trans-theoretical model and conditions of change in both theory and practice. Motivational Interviewing emerges from the interpretations of Bill Miller and Steve Rollnick. The MI approach to therapy is relatively new in that it has made progress over the past decade. In 2002, Miller and Rollnick’s observations helped resolve client’s inconsistencies in terms of having mixed feelings to change and the need for a behavior change should increase their motivation from within (Passmore, 2011). They believe the therapist assists the client with finding their stimulus inside themselves in order to create a change of behavior. For instance, if a client is unsure whether they would like to stop the use of alcohol, the therapist would engage in conversation in order to assess where the client is when it comes to change. Miller and Rollnick had and issue changing deals with whether a client spoke at a higher level of statements and commitment to change, which in turn signified motivation (Passmore, 2011). On the other hand, a member’s motivation to change was at a lower level as him or her are stuck resisting the change (Passmore, 2011). Consequently, a highly motivated client speaks in high regard of the behavior change they would like to possess and follows through as oppose to a client who demonstrates confrontation relating to change. Since behavioral patterns can be universal, I believe that MI can work well with various cultures as any member can change her or his thought process regardless of culture. MI found it less productive to get the client to change behavior by being confrontational, therefore OARS was created. OARS are open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summarization. Open-ended questions are the core of the MI assessment process (Rosengren, 2009). These questions allow the clients to express what is of importance to them and allows the therapist to see a broader range of what may be going on with the client. Affirmations entail actively listening to build the clients motivation to change by giving insight to specific behaviors, not using the “I” word, focusing on explanations, positive areas and overall to add characteristic to the qualities of the client (Rosengren, 2009). Reflective listening involves getting an understanding of what the client is expressing as well as giving the client back what they expressed, the therapist acts as a mirror. Lastly, summarization occurs when the therapist uses their own words restating the client’s thoughts in a much shorter way. Trans-theoretical model is the theory base of MI. This model looks at the preparation for change through various steps that include pre-contemplation, contemplation, planning/decision, action, maintenance, and relapse. The various steps do not necessarily go in sequential order, as every client’s thoughts will be different at very steps. When a person realizes that they may have a problem because they have learned about something new about their behavior pattern, which raised awareness of their problem, this is pre-contemplation. The problem behavior is usually...
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