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The Motivational Interview

I have found Motivational Interviewing to be a powerful tool for helping my client’s make difficult changes and decisions in their lives. I know that many of us have sought therapy for the many psychological difficulties that life with IBS poses. I would like to discuss the power of Motivational Interviewing today and suggest that if you have a comfortable relationship with your therapist (you should or should be looking for another ), perhaps you could ask about working with this therapeutic practice. You can also inquire with other local mental health groups or therapists about professionals that use Motivational Interviewing as part of their clinical approach.

What is motivational interviewing?

The basic principles of Motivational Interview (I’m going to call it MI going forward in this article for simplicity’s sake), can be remembered with the acronym R.U.L.E.: R: Resist the righting reflex. This is what I believe to be the most important aspect of MI. When someone is trying to support our life changes and decision making, the natural approach is to correct someone when you think that their words, approach, perception or anything else is wrong. This therapy session is for you, not the therapist. U: Understand your patient’s motivation. So, again it is about the person being interviewed and not the interviewer. The core of this conversation is what is motivating the person to make the change or decision. L: Listen to the patient. I know lot’s of us (ME) struggle during a conversation when we have something we feel is important to say. We simply wait, without doing much listening to what others have to say, just to take our turn. Therapists, counselors, doctors and other medical professionals very often have this problem. MI is developed to avoid this type of question and answer and focuses on the patient or interviewee’s point of view. Lastly, E: Empower your patient. The words the interviewer chooses are selected with the sole purpose of promoting positive energy and motivation in the patient. How does all this sound to you? When I first learned about MI, I wanted to try this both in my work and also in my own therapy sessions. I was lucky that my therapist was very well versed in the technique and was able to use it with me with some success.

This is a collaborative process between the therapist and the patient. Another central tenet of MI is that ADVICE will only be given when permission from the patient is granted. This is empowering the patient in a way that many therapy sessions do not provide. A person trained to perform MI will also be able to ask questions that promote change and a deeper thought process in the patient without demanding it or giving specific directions. Again, putting the power back with the person seeking support. Finally, MI is about compassion. The compassion the therapist has for the patient and the firm belief that the key to the entire conversation is to promote the patient’s wellbeing.

If this sounds like something you would like to try, there are tons of resources online to get a better picture of what MI looks like. I also highly suggest speaking to your mental health professional about it. There are so many types of therapy that sometimes it is difficult to select the one that is right for you. While MI, on it’s own, may not fulfill your therapeutic needs, sometimes taking a different approach to your problems can bare some fruit.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.