What is Motivational Interviewing?
Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative communication style that increases intrinsic motivation for behavior change.
When used in the criminal justice setting, offenders are treated in a
non-judgmental, non-confrontational and non-adversarial manner. It attempts to increase the person’s awareness of the potential problems caused, consequences experienced, and risks faced as a result of the target behavior. The professional helps clients envision a better future, as they become increasingly motivated to achieve their goals in a collaborative fashion. Regardless of the setting, the expertise for change and decision to make change comes from within the individual.
This strategy helps them to think differently about their behavior and to consider the positive outcomes possible through a change in behavior. In doing so, resistance (discord) is lowered while the health and safety of the offender, the community and the officer are increased.
Motivational Interviewing focuses on the present, and entails working with an individual to change any particular behaviors that might not be consistent with their personal values. These discrepancies are explored in a non-threatening manner. The key tenets of MI are empathy, collaboration and evocation which are utilized to help the person overcome ambivalence about (or the pros and cons) of changing vs. not changing. A variety of studies have shown its efficacy in a broad arena of behavior change when MI is used versus the status quo.
Although, a specialty of TVG is the criminal justice setting, Motivational Interviewing skills know no boundaries when it comes to behavior change and are utilized in many human services environments.