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Motivational Interviewing



Person using newly learned coping skills for anxiety

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a person-centered approach that has gained significant recognition in the field of addiction treatment. At Denovo Recovery, an addiction treatment center in St. Joseph, MO, we think it is important to educate and inform individuals about effective methodologies for overcoming addictive behaviors. In this article, we will explore the concept of Motivational Interviewing, its purpose, and how it can enhance motivation and commitment to recovery.

Understanding Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing is a therapeutic technique that aims to help individuals explore and resolve their ambivalence toward changing addictive behaviors. It was developed by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick in the early 1980s. MI recognizes that individuals often have mixed feelings about making changes in their lives, particularly when it comes to overcoming addiction.

The Person-Centered Approach

One of the key features of Motivational Interviewing is its person-centered approach. Instead of imposing decisions or solutions on individuals, MI focuses on empathy, collaboration, and respect for autonomy. The therapist or counselor acts as a guide, supporting the individual in discovering their own motivations and strengths for change.

Enhancing Motivation and Commitment to Recovery

Motivational Interviewing helps individuals build intrinsic motivation for recovery by addressing their ambivalence and resolving any resistance they may have. Through open-ended questions, active listening, and reflective responses, the therapist encourages the individual to explore the reasons behind their addictive behaviors and the potential benefits of change.

The Process of Motivational Interviewing

Engagement and Building Rapport

The first step in Motivational Interviewing is establishing a therapeutic relationship based on trust and understanding. The therapist creates a safe and non-judgmental space where the individual feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and emotions.

Assessing Importance and Confidence

In this phase, the therapist explores the individual’s perception of the importance of change and their confidence in their ability to make changes. By understanding these factors, the therapist can tailor the intervention to address specific concerns and barriers.

Eliciting and Strengthening Change Talk

Change talk refers to the individual’s own statements expressing their desire, ability, reasons, or need for change. The therapist actively listens for change talk and uses it as an opportunity to reinforce motivation and commitment to recovery.

Resolving Ambivalence

Ambivalence is a common challenge when it comes to making changes. Motivational Interviewing acknowledges and explores ambivalence rather than trying to eliminate it. The therapist helps the individual weigh the pros and cons of both continuing addictive behaviors and pursuing recovery, ultimately helping them resolve their ambivalence.

Planning for Action

Once motivation and commitment to change have been strengthened, the therapist collaborates with the individual to develop a concrete plan of action. This plan includes specific goals, strategies, and resources to support the individual’s recovery journey.

The Benefits of Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing has shown promising results in addiction treatment. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Enhanced motivation: MI taps into the individual’s intrinsic motivation, leading to a greater commitment to change.
  2. Increased self-efficacy: By exploring personal strengths and building confidence, MI helps individuals believe in their ability to overcome addiction.
  3. Empowerment and autonomy: MI respects individuals’ autonomy, empowering them to make their own decisions regarding recovery.
  4. Tailored approach: MI is highly individualized, taking into account each person’s unique circumstances and needs.
  5. Positive therapeutic alliance: The collaborative nature of MI fosters a strong therapeutic alliance between the individual and the therapist, contributing to better treatment outcomes.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery

Are you ready to embark on a journey of healing and transformation? Don’t let addiction hold you back any longer. At Denovo Recovery, we are here to support you every step of the way. Our dedicated team of professionals is experienced in utilizing Motivational Interviewing and other evidence-based approaches to help you overcome ambivalence and enhance your motivation for recovery.

Take that crucial first step today by reaching out to us. Visit our website or contact our admissions team to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and how Motivational Interviewing can make a positive difference in your life. Your future of freedom and well-being awaits.


Motivational Interviewing stands out due to its person-centered approach, emphasizing collaboration, empathy, and respect for autonomy.
Yes, Motivational Interviewing can be effective for various types of addiction, as it focuses on the individual’s motivations and strengths rather than the specific substance or behavior.
The duration of a Motivational Interviewing session can vary, but it usually ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. The number of sessions needed depends on individual circumstances and progress.
Yes, Motivational Interviewing is often integrated with other evidence-based treatment modalities to provide comprehensive care and support tailored to the individual’s needs.
To learn more about accessing Motivational Interviewing at Denovo Recovery, please visit our website or contact our admissions team directly for personalized assistance.