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What Is Motivational Interviewing?

A woman asking, "What is motivational interviewing?"

Behavioral therapies have a significant impact on helping those with addiction, depression, or other types of mental health disorders. What is motivational interviewing? It is a type of behavioral therapy that focuses on finding the individual’s personal motivation. Then, it uses that motivation to push them toward reaching their recovery goals.

At Sobrius, our treatment programs utilize a number of beneficial therapies, including motivational interviewing for addiction recovery. You will work directly with an experienced therapist who will uncover the root cause behind the addiction and find the personal motivations to achieve your recovery goals. Therapy programs include a wide mix of therapies along with medication to ease addiction withdrawals, cravings, and other symptoms.

To see how motivational interviewing can help you or a loved one, call 888.596.6514 today to speak with our knowledgeable team.

What Is Motivational Interviewing and How Can it Help With Addiction?

The motivational interviewing definition states, “motivational interviewing (MI) is a client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence.”1 MI is a short-term, empathetic program that takes into account the difficulty behind making significant life changes. Then, it works on making those changes more realistic and attainable.

For people with addiction, MI can help them find the motivation to reach their sober goals. This can be unique to the person and depends on their personal interests, family life, and other factors. One person’s motivation for breaking their addiction can be to be a better parent for their children. Another may be to stop letting their anxiety and self-doubt fuel their addiction and keep them from reaching a career goal. An experienced therapist will help clients find their motivation. Then, they’ll work with any resistance or negative thoughts about the client’s ability to change.

Sobrius is a full-service treatment center. We care for Virginia residents who have developed a substance use disorder and want help breaking their addiction to drugs and alcohol. During our initial interview, we will go over our treatment plans. Then, we’ll answer any questions you have about what motivational interviewing is and what to expect from the program.

What to Expect in Motivational Interviewing Therapy

Behavioral therapies like motivational interviewing play a prominent role in helping people stop abusing drugs or alcohol safely. Motivational interviewing is a beneficial therapeutic treatment. It helps people find the motivation to achieve their goals and commit to making those changes. In combination with other behavioral and holistic therapies, MI can help clients reach their goals and have an easier time staying committed to life-long sobriety.

Motivational interviewing therapy is guided by four main principles:

1. Express Empathy

Therapists use empathy as a means to develop a closer connection with their clients and help them open up about their feelings and emotions. It helps create deeper trust between therapist and client and can create a more effective therapeutic experience.

2. Support Self-Efficacy

One of the theories as to why MI works so well is that it recognizes that each person has the ability within them to enact real change. Therapists help clients foster this belief. In addition, they can show clients various ways to make positive changes in the way they think, feel, and act.

3. Roll with Resistance

MI therapists accept that some clients will resist making changes. They help them identify the reason behind the resistance and work with them to find a way past it by showing them multiple options to achieve their goals.

4. Develop Discrepancy

Therapists help clients recognize their current situation and identify what is standing in their way of reaching their goals. This can be very beneficial in helping them realize how their own actions are keeping them from their goals and to find new solutions to reach them.

Schedule an Appointment at Sobrius Today to Learn More About Motivational Interviewing

Sobrius welcomes anyone who is struggling with an addiction to prescription medication, alcohol, cocaine, or other addictive substances. Our rural location is ideal for recovery and reflection. You will work with an experienced therapist through group and private therapy sessions using motivational interviewing and other proven therapeutic techniques.

To enroll in motivational interviewing for addiction, call 888.596.6514 today or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation and tour of our discreet treatment center.


1. Improving MI Practices