Principles That Motivational Interviewing Is Built Upon

There are certain rules and principles that are important for the relationship between counselor and client, all for the whole process to have a better effect on the client. These principles help the two parties establish a relationship, become a team, but also to use their time together and find common motives, motivations, and goals that the client needs to be able to continue further.


SupportThe resistance is a normal reaction here. It is hard to change the way we think, act, and what we do with our feelings. The counselors’ job is not to shush or kill any raised alarms and questions client has, but to explore motives behind the resistance, to address it, and to help both get a better understanding of it.


Believing the change can happen is a first and most important motivator in this process. The counselors’ task is to explain the importance and the reality of that belief and to show its sustainability. In this process, clients have the freedom to choose an carry out their specific actions that will lead them to change, and the counselors’ job is to keep client focused, prepared, and motivated.


EmpathyTo fully understand a client, professionals need to have a lot of empathy. The only way they can help their clients is to see things through their eyes, to imagine how would be if they walked in their shoes. This is also important to show the client that he is in a safe environment and that he or she can express themselves fully. The professionals are here to give support and guidance. All of this is building trust between those two people and helping them both get a better understanding not only of the problem but also of its motives and future solutions. The honest empathy can facilitate change.


This is the part where clients get a better understanding how to find the motivation, goals, and strength within themselves, and how to gain autonomy over problems that they were and will encounter.