Motivational Interviewing

By: Stephen Pont, MD, MPH, FAAP
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Director, Texas Center for the Prevention & Treatment of Childhood Obesity
Medical Director, Austin ISD Student Health Services
UT Southwestern, Austin - Department of Pediatrics / UT Austin - Department of Advertising
Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas  
On Twitter: @DrStephenPont

No more shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’ ….

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a technique used to produce positive behavior change through allowing individuals (a.k.a. patients) to convince themselves that they should change, that they can change, and that they will change. No more shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’, but, instead, through MI, individuals will decide that they should (importance), could (confidence), and will (commitment) make a change.

Some older models of doctor-patient communication have included confrontation (you must lose weight), education (obesity is harmful), and authority (you should listen to me because I’m your doctor). Motivational interviewing uses a different model. Instead of confrontation, education, and authority, MI relies on collaboration (walk alongside or partner with the patient), evocation (the clinician elicits the patient's arguments for change), and autonomy (the patient decides what and if to change).

Toolkit Base: