MI is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.” (Miller & Rollnick, 2013, p. 29)
The most current version of MI is described in detail in Miller and Rollnick (2013) Motivational Interviewing: Helping people to change (3rd edition). Key qualities include:
- MI is a guiding style of communication, that sits between following (good listening) and directing (giving information and advice).
- MI is designed to empower people to change by drawing out their own meaning, importance and capacity for change.
- MI is based on a respectful and curious way of being with people that facilitates the natural process of change and honors client autonomy.
MI requires the clinician to engage with the client as an equal partner and refrains from unsolicited advice, confronting, instructing, directing, or warning. It is not a way to “get people to change” or a set of techniques to impose on the conversation. MI takes time, practice and requires self-awareness and discipline from the clinician. (Miller & Rollnick, 2009)