What is M.I.?

Motivational Interviewing (M.I.) is a focused, goal-directed and client/patient-centered communication style. Working with a skilled M.I. practitioner, people find and build on their own motivations for achieving healthy behaviors, leading to results that are specific and measurable.

Read below to learn more about M.I. and how it works.



Essential Elements in Any Definition or Use of M.I.

  1. M.I. is a particular kind of conversation about change.
  2. M.I. is collaborative—a partnership that honors autonomy and is not expert/recipient.
  3. M.I. is evocative, seeking to call forth a person’s own motivation and commitment.

M.I. Defined: Three Levels of Increasing Specificity 

  1. M.I. is a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own motivation for and commitment to change.
  2. M.I. is a method for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change.
  3. M.I. is a collaborative, goal-oriented method of communication with particular attention to the language of change.  It is designed to strengthen motivation for and movement toward a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own arguments for change.

What We Know About How it Works

  • M.I. decreases resistance by first changing the language of providers.
  • With M.I., we ask questions that elicit the patient’s “Change Talk” (any speech that favors change) and D.A.R.N. (the person’s own Desire, Ability, Reasons, Need) instead of making statements that evoke resistance.
  • The extent to which patients verbally defend status quo will be inversely related to the behavioral change they achieve.
  • The extent to which patients verbally argue for change will be directly related to the behavioral change they achieve.