The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing

Topic: Professional Psychology
Words: 293 Pages: 1

Motivational interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based counseling method that improves the client’s motivation to facilitate change. Frey et al. (2021) define it as a “skill set that takes carefully planned didactic training, application of skills in context-specific practice settings, and ongoing support to promote reflective practice and sustained proficiency” (p. 689). The spirit of motivational interviewing aims to improve the therapist-client rapport and involves collaboration, compassion, evocation, and acceptance.

Therefore, to incorporate the spirit of MI into practice, I would focus on building a beneficial therapeutic relationship with my client based on the concepts of respect, self-efficacy, and autonomy. Ogles et al. (2021) suggest that counselors follow the principles of “OARS, which stands for open-ended questions, affirming, reflecting, and summarizing” (p. 54). In this regard, I would avoid persuasion and implement a supportive approach. It involves asking the client open-ended questions to help them explore their ideas and concerns instead of imposing my perspective. Another way to enhance the spirit of motivational interviewing is to use affirmations that emphasize the individual’s strengths and achievements. In doing so, I would support my client’s self-efficacy and positive self-image.

Reflective listening is another essential method that supports the principles of MI. It includes listening to the client, reflecting on the negative aspects of the problem, and highlighting the positive effects of change (Ogles et al., 2021). In other words, I would help the client to arrive at important decisions without offering advice directly. Instead, reflections can improve one’s understanding of the issue and promote commitment to change. Similarly, I would summarize the therapy sessions to emphasize specific parts of the discussions and promote the client’s development. Overall, it is essential to ensure the appropriate spirit of motivational interviewing to facilitate change and achieve positive therapeutic outcomes.


Frey, A. J., Lee, J., Small, J. W., Sibley, M., Owens, J. S., Skidmore, B., Johnson, L., Bradshaw, C. P., & Moyers, T. B. (2021). Mechanisms of motivational interviewing: A conceptual framework to guide practice and research. Prevention Science, 22(6), 689-700. Web.

Ogles, B. M., Wood, D. S., Weidner, R. O., & Brown, S. D. (2021). Motivational interviewing in higher education: A primer for academic advisors and student affairs professionals. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

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