Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a conversation style in which healthcare professionals and patients work together to discover the patient’s own reasons to make positive behavioral changes and strengthen their commitment to change. Healthcare professionals and patients are treated as equal partners, each possessing useful knowledge that can help align the patient’s actions with their stated life goals and values.

MI emphasizes the importance of understanding the patient’s perspective and feelings, eliciting their own reasons for change rather than overwhelming them with health information or judging current behavior. Those trained in MI explore a patient’s readiness, willingness, and ability to make positive behavioral changes by asking open-ended questions, affirming the other person’s experiences, reflecting on their comments, and summarizing key themes or values from the conversation. MI helps identify what is troubling the patient, and what can be done collectively to solve the problem.

Motivation is influenced by an individual’s mood, which is why we also incorporate Behavioral Activation (BA) and Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) into our MI training and implementation. BA uses an MI-adherent approach to gradually increase patient engagement in pleasant and enjoyable activities while SBIRT is used to identify, reduce, and prevent unhealthy use of alcohol and other substances.

MI is helping patients make positive behavioral changes in a number of PRHI initiatives – Partners in Integrated Care (PIC), Care of Mental, Physical, and Substance Use Syndromes (COMPASS), Minority Aids Initiative (MAI), and Primary Care Resource Center (PCRC).

For information on upcoming Motivational Interviewing sessions, visit the PRHI Events page.

motivational interviewing