What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way?”  It’s likely that you have.  People use this phrase often to try to motivate someone to get something done, or to find a solution to getting something done.  I have even found myself saying this phrase to my own children when they want to do something, but they cannot figure out how.  There is a great deal of truth to this phrase.  Throughout history, we see examples of humans who have had the will to do something, and have accomplished amazing and impressive feats to accomplish this will or goal.  They have worked hard and have had a “will” to find their “way.”  Sometimes, however, we come across individuals who seem to have lost their “will.”  We can probably all think of someone in our lives whom we have watched spiral downward with no “will” or motivation for change.  Consequently, they have lost “their way.”  It can be heartbreaking to see someone you love spiral downward to the lowest of lows.  We want to help them, give them suggestions, encourage them to get help, and rescue them from this downward trend, but we often find that we cannot invoke change in this person.  We cannot make them conjure up a “will” to change.  This is a difficult process to watch, but there is hope for these individuals.

One of the techniques that therapists have found helpful for individuals who lack the motivation or willpower to change is called Motivational Interviewing.  Motivational Interviewing is a counseling method that takes confusing or unclear feelings and emotions and channels those to help an individual find the internal motivation needed to make changes in his or her life.  This is a practical and short-term method that is highly effective in invoking the will-power to make changes.  Motivational Interviewing is often used with those struggling with addictions and even those trying to manage health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.  This type of therapy is also effective for those who are resistant to change and for those with anger issues, as it helps people move through emotional stages to find their internal motivation.

The two goals of Motivational Therapy are first, to help a client find his or her internal motivation to make a change, and secondly, to help an individual commit to the difficult process of change.  Therapists help their clients reach these goals by avoiding telling clients what to do.  Instead, they ask open-ended questions and probe into the current emotions and behaviors to help the client realize how these are negatively impacting his or her life.  The therapist will then work with the client to understand what motivates him or her.  This is done by helping clients understand their needs, values, circumstances, and potential barriers to change.  Therapists will listen with empathy and compassion and will help the client summarize his or her thoughts and emotions.  Finally, after internal motivation is realized, therapists will help their clients to set attainable goals that can be met as they work towards change in their lives.  This process is being widely used in the mental health world, and is being recognized as a therapeutic technique that elicits great and lasting results.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, anger, or simply the will power to make changes, please reach out to the therapists at Waters Edge Counseling.  We are here to help you as you work towards making positive changes in your life, and we would love to help you discover what motivates you towards making these changes.  Give us a call at 912-319-5552 if we can help.  We are here for you!