The history of MI.
Motivational Interviewing was originally developed by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick in the early 1980s in their work with clients who misused alcohol. Today, the application of Motivational Interviewing is no longer limited to treatment for substance misuse but is integrated in many different types of psychotherapeutic treatments and psychosocial rehabilitation, among others. The approach has been the subject of over 1,000 peer-reviewed articles.
The first and simplest of these is a layperson’s definition, focusing on what Motivational Interviewing is for – its purpose: “Motivational interviewing is a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own motivation [for,] and commitment to[,] change.”
A second is a pragmatic practitioner’s definition, and again primarily addresses purpose, but this time from a clinical perspective: Why would I want to learn and use MI: “Motivational interviewing is a person-centered […] method for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change.”
The third and most detailed is a technical therapeutic definition that addresses both “why” and “how” questions: as William R Miller and Stephen Rollnick state, “Motivational interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented method of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is intended to strengthen personal motivation for[,] and commitment to[,] a specific goal by eliciting and exploring an individual’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.”
— William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, October 2010