Motivational interviewing is a counseling process that places importance on the readiness of the client to change. This would mean that motivational interviewing does not force, coerce or threaten the client into committing to change (Rollnick & Miller, 1995). Instead the counselor waits patiently, guides and supports the client in his/her journey towards greater self-awareness and to be able to discern that a discrepancy exists between what he/she wants and where he/she is. The spirit of motivational interviewing stresses empathy, the freedom of the client to make his/her own decisions and express his/her desire to change and to not oppose resistance but rather roll with the client (Rollnick, Heather & Bell, 1992). This technique therefore is very soft, very considerate and very slow, but to those who believe in the premise that man will never be able to effect true change if he does not believe in it, then motivational interviewing is an interesting approach.
The core assumption of motivational interviewing is that a deeply disturbed person can change if he realizes the ambivalence he has towards his present situation (Miller & Rollnick, 1991). I agree that the prime responsibility of the counselor is to facilitate the client’s discovery and growth rather than to direct or to give advice. This approach is helpful because it gives counselors a framework of which to help individuals deal with their issues and problems in a more caring and supportive atmosphere. I would probably use motivational interviewing in my own clients especially if the client is highly intellectual and intrinsically motivated, because it is what appeals to their sense of free will and choice. However, motivational interviewing may take longer than compared to other approaches but considering that most substance abuse cases are chronic and need immediate and drastic change (Miller, Zweben, DiClemente & Rychtarik, 1992), I think that if ever I would use MI, it would be on problems with adjustment and grief rather than substance abuse and addiction.
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