We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926

Motivational Interviewing Principles

Motivational Interviewing Principles

Overcoming a challenge like a drug addiction or mental illness can seem even more harrowing when the people tasked with helping you act like robots. Solutions to these issues are not one size fits all. This is where motivational interviewing comes in. It is an evidence-based approach that focuses on the language of empathy and self-motivation to promote prominent change in the patient. Today our Massachusetts rehab examines motivational interviewing principles along with the history of MI.   

History of Motivational Interviewing  

Psychologist William R. Miller introduced the concept in 1983 and further developed the process with his colleague Stephan Rollnick. Miller recognized that simply talking to a person about the changes they need to make very rarely affected them enough to implement those changes. 

The technique was cultivated from the client-centered approach of Carl Roger. As Rollnick explains it, “The more you try to insert information and advice into others, the more they tend to back off and resist…Put simply, this involves coming alongside the person and helping them to say why and how they might change for themselves.”  

What Is Motivational Interviewing?  

Motivational interviewing, also referred to as MI, is a collaborative approach to treatment that places emphasis on communication, empowerment, and guidance towards self-determination. Engagement within this goal-oriented method is crucial and allows the patient and counselor to feel more connected throughout the treatment process. It can take time and a substantial amount of patience from both parties, but it has proven its effectiveness over the years.  

Principles of Motivational Interviewing  

There are four main principles dedicated to motivational interviewing: 

  1. Express empathy: When a patient is shown clear and honest empathy, it heightens the sense of togetherness between them and their counselor. 
  2. Develop discrepancy: This assists the patient in visualizing that their current ordeal does not actually represent their values as a person or goals for the future. 
  3. Roll with resistance: This can negate a disruption in communication by giving the patient space to personally navigate their own views. 
  4. Support self-efficacy: If the patient can get to a point where they can personally see real change as a possibility, their chances of accomplishing it rise exponentially.  

Benefits of Motivational Interviewing for Treatment 

Treatment can easily feel like a vicious cycle of crisis, rehabilitation, relapse, and repeat. MI works to eradicate this by getting to the root of the cause. Genuine empowerment can seem like a rare commodity in this day and age, but it is a key component of this method of treatment.  

There are several benefits of motivational interviewing in the realm of addiction treatment, including:  

  • Patient empowerment through validation of their perspective and experiences.  
  • Assisting patients in visualizing the cycle they have grown accustomed to. 
  • Motivating patients to implement the changes recognized as necessary for improvement. 
  • Educating patients through an honest approach to their situation and helping them recognize the power they truly have over their situation. 

Motivational Interviewing Within Recovery 

MI has the potential to be a life-changing tool when implemented with care and conviction. At Banyan Massachusetts, we believe that the patients are the ones to hold the key to their own success. The motivational interviewing principles can allow them to see for themselves the amount of power they hold in their own situation, with hopes that this can encourage them to take it all the way. We offer a variety of levels of care in order to help each patient design the most effective treatment process possible.  

If you or a loved one are struggling to take those first steps, our drug rehab in Massachusetts is equipped with numerous programs to craft an impactful treatment experience. Call us at 888-280-4763 for more information today.  



  1. Stephen Rollnick: About Motivational Interviewing 


Related Reading:  

Motivational Interviewing for Treating Benzo Addiction  

The Psychological Aspect of Addiction 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Motivational Interviewing Principles
This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By using this website you agree to our Online Privacy Policy.
Learn more ›