How Motivational Interviewing Benefits You
Motivational interviewing provides a variety of benefits because addresses the natural uncertainty that each of us feels when it comes to making behavioral changes. This uncertainty arises from the conflicting emotions that occur due to the process required to make that change and the potential outcomes of making those changes. By addressing these reservations and concerns, MI can help you in a variety of change situations, helping you to:
- Lose weight; stop or reduce drug, alcohol or tobacco use; or managing mental or physical illness symptoms.
- Understand how to develop internal motivation for change, rather than being motivated only by outside influences such as family, friends or doctors.
- Examine and resolve feelings of uncertainty concerning the change
- Create and begin a manageable plan for the change process
- Increase your confidence by paying attention to the importance of even the smallest changes
- Make your commitment to change stronger
Each of these benefits is vital to the change process, as each allows you to begin taking the action in a way that is best for you. Motivational interviewing focuses on your motivation and commitment, helping you to change on your own terms.
The Approach to Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing is built on a relationship of mutual respect and trust. The therapist or counselor is not going to tell you what to do, we trust that you know what you need to do, our role is to help you move through specific stages of change, assisting you to develop the readiness, and then taking incremental actions until the desired change becomes an ingrained habit.
One of the stages of change, precontemplation, involves identifying and resolving the conflicting feelings about changing specific behaviors. For example, if you want to lose weight or quit smoking, yet don't like to exercise or enjoy taking smoke breaks, you have mixed feelings or ambivalence. There are things you like or don't like that are preventing the behavior change from happening or being performed consistently. Once the doubt, uncertainty, and mixed feelings are cleared, then a stronger commitment to make the change is established. Resolving ambivalence helps you move to the next stage of change, experimentation.
Experimentation is trying out the new behavior, it's the trial and error period where you learn what works and what doesn't. Such as exercising in the morning, six days a week may not work but exercising in the evening, three nights a week is manageable and realistic. It takes implementing and experimenting to discover the best routine for you. During this stage we also problem solve to help you develop new coping skills and strategies to overcome setbacks, challenges and barriers that inevitably come your way.
The MI professionals use strategies and techniques that honor autonomy, uncover valuable insight to your commitment so you can make new lifestyle changes to improve your physical and mental health that are enjoyable, sustainable and internally motivated.