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Oct 2014 by PCI College

Bite-Sized Book Review: Motivational Interviewing-Preparing People for Change by William R. Miller & Stephen Rollnick

Eoin Stephens, PCI College President reviews 'Motivational Interviewing' which details an approach first used in the treatment of addiction, but now used to deal with difficult change in many areas.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an approach that was originally developed in response to addiction problems, but now seen as relevant wherever difficult changes need to be made.

Classic problem areas are:
  • Addictive Behaviours (Drug use, Sexual behaviours, Gambling etc)
  • Eating Disorders
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Diet/Exercise

MI shifts responsibility to the therapist for dealing with the problem of instability in client motivation, which then becomes just another issue for the therapist and client to work on collaboratively, rather than something the client needs to consistently bring to therapy. Perhaps the greatest contribution of this approach is its strong focus on accepting the reality, pervasiveness and humanness of ambivalence in relation to most areas of potential change in our lives. This can make the work easier for both therapist and client, reducing frustration and self-criticism on both sides.

This important book
'Motivational Interviewing' by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick is now in its third edition, but I still retain a particular fondness for this second edition, perhaps because it was influential at a crucial time both in the development of this approach and in my own development as a counsellor.

I think it covers in more depth the vital shifts in thinking that were taking place at the end of the 20th century, in relation to:

  • Finding a balance between directive and non-directive approaches to difficult changes in people’s lives
  • Helping therapists become more comfortable with the normality of ambivalence and of the fluidity of motivational states

This book still remains a crucial influence on my work.

Eoin Stephens (MA, MIACP, MACI) October 2014
PCI College President

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