What is Motivational Interviewing?

William Miller’s Motivational Interviewing (MI) originated in the field of behavioral health. This empirical method boasts a high level of reliability and has seen results go beyond the counseling realm and into other areas of healthcare. The purpose of this approach is to encourage behavioral change in patients and it specifically offers a supportive, empathetic approach that resonates with patients, including those who are quite resistant. This method involves the patient in the process, learns what his or her desires are, and walks them through a supportive path towards change (Miller & Huffman, 2013).

Patients who were exposed to MI over “treatment as usual” were found to be more likely to (Rollnick, Miller & Butler, 2008):

  • Improve medication adherence
  • Have fewer hospitalizations
  • Increase exercise
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce sodium intake
  • Keep food diaries
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake
  • Improve glycemic control

This “skillful clinical style for eliciting from individuals their own good motivations for making behavior change in the interest of their health” encourages behavior change, engages the patient in the process and leads to better outcomes than traditional approaches (Rollnick, et. al., 2008).



Miller, C. & Huffman, M. (2013). Evidence-based Health Coaching for Healthcare Providers Program

Manual (3rd Edition).

Rollnick, S., Miller, W.R. and Butler, C.C. (2008). Motivational Interviewing In Health Care: Helping

               Patients Change Behavior. New York: Guilford Press.

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