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Motivational Interviewing. November 16, 2009 Nurse Practitioners Roundtable The Homestead, Hot Springs,VA Cecilia van Zyl-Knab, LCSW, MINT Motivation4Change. You would think . . . .

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November 16, 2009

Nurse Practitioners Roundtable

The Homestead, Hot Springs,VA

Cecilia van Zyl-Knab, LCSW, MINT


you would think
You would think . . .
  • that having had a heart attack would be enough to persuade a man to quit smoking, change his diet, exercise more, and take his medication
  • that hangovers, damaged relationships, an auto crash, and memory blackouts would be enough to convince a woman to stop drinking
client motivation is a key to change
Client Motivation is a Key to Change
  • Substance abuse treatment outcomes are predicted by:
    • Pretreatment motivation measures
    • Treatment attendance
    • Treatment adherence/compliance
    • Counselor ratings of motivation and prognosis
  • That is, more “motivated” clients do better
and client motivation is greatly influenced by the counselor
And Client Motivation is Greatly Influenced by the Counselor:
  • Clients’ motivation, retention and outcome vary with the particular counselor to whom they are assigned
  • Counselor style strongly drives client resistance (confrontation drives it up, empathic listening brings it down)
  • That is, the counselor is one of the biggest determinants of client motivation and change
readiness for what
Readiness for What?
  • Rather than asking: “Why isn’t this person motivated?”
  • Ask: “What is this person motivated for?”
  • Potential Pitfall: Assuming you know.
  • Research specifically has not found overuse of denial, or any other typical patterns of defensive styles among people with SUDs
if it s not personality then what behaviors cause counselors to perceive clients as being in denial
If it’s not personality, then what behaviorscause counselors to perceive clients as being in “denial”?
  • Disagreeing with the counselor
  • Resisting a diagnosis/label
  • Declining help
  • Showing little distress
  • Disavowing a need for counseling or change
  • Being non-compliant with treatment prescriptions


  • Not changing
in contrast counselors tend to perceive clients as being motivated when they
In contrast, counselors tend to perceive clients as being “motivated” when they:
  • Agree with the counselor
  • Accept the counselor’s diagnosis/label
  • Express a desire for help
  • Show distress
  • Voice a need for the counselor/counseling
  • Comply with the counselor’s treatment plan


  • Change
in other words client motivation is evident in
In other words, client motivation is evident in:
  • Low resistance
  • Openness and collaboration
  • Expressing emotion
  • Adhering to a change plan


  • Changing

All of which are strongly influenced, for better or worse, by what the counselor does



The Dilemma of Change

contemplation stage
Contemplation Stage
  • It is easy to think that someone in this stage is ready to make a change.
  • Work place smokers survey: 70-80% contemplation, but only 3-5% attracted to programs for change
  • Some studies: Relationship between contemplation & higher levels of depression
cognitive behavioral change
Cognitive & Behavioral Change:
  • Seems that cognitive and experiential processes of change more important in earlier stages (consciousness raising, self evaluation, environmental re-evaluation)
  • Behavioral processes more important in later stages of change (efficacy)
you take one side i another
You take one side; I another
  • When you strong argue one side, the ambivalent naturally argue the other
  • The stronger the argument the less likely change occurs
common human reactions to the righting reflex
Angry, agitated





Not understood

Not heard



 Helpless, overwhelmed




Don’t come back – avoid

 Uncomfortable

 Resistant

Common Human Reactions to the Righting Reflex
common human reactions to being listened to

Want to talk more

Liking the counselor





Able to change






Want to come back


Common Human Reactions to Being Listened to
a change of role
A Change of Role
  • You don’t have to make change happen

You can’t

  • You don’t have to come up with all the answers

You probably don’t have the best ones

  • You’re not wrestling

You’re dancing

motivational interviewing definition
Motivational Interviewing Definition:
  • Motivational interviewing is
  • a person-centered,
  • directive
  • method of communication
  • for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence.
the spirit of motivational interviewing
The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing
  • Collaboration
  • Evocation
    • Docere and Ducere
  • Autonomy
docere and ducere
Docere and Ducere
  • Two Latin verbs regarding education
  • Evoking vs. Imparting information
  • Docere - lead / impart knowledge or info
  • Ducere - to draw forth or evoke from within
  • Spirit of MI: Ability to draw forth rather than

pulling the client toward the goal

thank you
Thank You!
  • Upcoming 2 Day Training: Richmond, VA
  • January 14 & 15, 2010 for more info visit:
reference list
Reference List:
  • Miller, W. R., Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing, Preparing People for Change. 2nd Ed. Guilford Press.