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  • Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, Volume 23, Issue 4
  • October 1995, pp. 325-334

What is Motivational Interviewing?

  • Stephen Rollnick (a1) and William R. Miller (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2009

Motivational interviewing is a directive, client-centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. It is most centrally defined not by technique but by its spirit as a facilitative style for interpersonal relationship. This article seeks to define motivational interviewing and to characterize its essential nature, differentiating it from other approaches with which it may be confused. A brief update is also provided regarding (1) evidence for its efficacy and (2) new problem areas and populations to which it is being applied.

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G. Agostinelli , J. M. Brown and W. R. Miller (1995). Effects of normative feedback on consumption among heavy drinking college students. Journal of Drug Education 25, 3140.

T. H. Bien , W. R. Miller and J. S. Tonigan (1993). Brief interventions for alcohol problems: a review. Addiction 88, 315336.

J. M. Brown and W. R. Miller (1993). Impact of motivational interviewing on participation and outcome in residential alcoholism treatment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviours 7, 211218.

H. Holder , R. Longabaugh , W. R. Miller and A. V. Rubonis (1991). The cost effectiveness of treatment for alcoholism: a first approximation. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 52, 517540.

V. Kuchipudi , K. Hobein , A. Fleckinger and F. L. Iber (1990). Failure of a 2–hour motivational intervention to alter recurrent drinking behaviour in alcoholics with gastrointestinal disease. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 51, 356360.

W. R. Miller , R. G. Benefield and J. S. Tonigan (1993). Enhancing motivation for change in problem drinking: a controlled comparison of two therapist styles. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 61, 455461.

Project MATCH Research Group (1993). Project MATCH: Rationale and methods for a multisite clinical trial matching patients to alcoholism treatment. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 17, 11301145.

S. Rollnick , A. Bell and N. Heather (1992). Negotiating behaviour change in medical settings: the development of brief motivational interviewing. Journal of Mental Health 1, 2537.

S. Rollnick , P. Kinnersley and N. Stott (1993). Methods of helping patients with behaviour change. British Medical Journal 307, 188190.

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