Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Research Article

What is Motivational Interviewing?

Stephen Rollnicka1 and William R. Millera2

a1 University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff

a2 University of New Mexico


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.


Reprint requests to William R Miller, Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131–1161, USA.