Philosophy and Principles of Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing refers to a type of therapy that aids in treating people struggling with addictions such as drugs and alcohol. There are five principles of motivational interviewing. The first principle is to show and express empathy to clients when discussing life events, behaviors, and thoughts that regularly affect clients. By building empathy, therapists can form trust and rapport, which may trigger the client to practice openness and share much about their concerns, struggles, and history.

The second step is to develop discrepancy and support. In this principle, clients issue reasons for their altering behavior rather than seeing the counselors as figures with the right solutions for them. For instance, clients can decide to stop alcohol from creating a healthy association with their children. If clients are portraying behaviors and make decisions that lead them astray from their goals, the therapist slowly reduces this gap between traits and plans to clients.

The third principle is dealing with resistance in clients transforming their behaviors. Counselors do not confront their clients’ resistance; instead, they avoid fumbling to help clients understand their perspective. When discussions are ongoing, counselors form alliances with clients to help them see and assess various viewpoints, enabling clients to choose the best attributes of view they want to hold on in their lives. Moreover, resistance is an indicator that the counselor needs to change their approach regarding the talk therapy.  Supporting self-efficacy is the fourth principle. With this principle, clients are made to imagine that they can accomplish the necessary change. This principle entails discussing and highlighting past behavioral and life success in the life of the client. Talking about the client’s past skills and strengths increases the client’s feelings to change for good.

The fifth principle is about developing autonomy. According to Sue (2016), counselors tell the clients that the authority to change comes from within their body system, not from the therapist. They demonstrate to the clients that they are responsible for their behavior change.

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