Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing

Simply put, “Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation to change.”

Miller & Rollnick 2009

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a well-known, scientifically tested method of counseling clients to make behavioral changes.  Its founders, Dr.’s William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, define it as “a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with nondirective counseling, it is more focused and goal-directed.” Its use can be an effective tool in helping obese and overweight children.

Finding the best way to talk about the sensitive topic of weight is not always easy. Both patients and parents are often reluctant to discuss weight for fear of shame, blame or judgment. Asking, listening and empowering families to participate actively in making wise choices about their health are key components to MI. Following are some quick tips for communicating with patients.

ABC’s of Counseling and Motivating Overweight Children and Families
→ Ask open-ended questions
• How do you feel about us talking about your physical activity, TV watching, and eating today?
• How concerned are you about your child’s weight?
• What are some of the things you might like to change?

→ Body language
• Put patient at ease.
• Use eye contact without barriers.
• Convey respect.
• Counsel in a private setting.

→ Care and Empathy
• Do not criticize.
• Acknowledge patient’s feelings.
• Answer questions with sign of judgment.
• Use language that is nonjudgmental
• “Healthier” food vs “bad” food
• “Healthier” weight vs “ideal” weight

Source: Pediatric Obesity Clinical Decision Support Chart. American Academy of Pediatrics

Resources for Motivational Interviewing

Kognito Change Talk (Skill-building practice tool)
Changing the Conversation about Childhood Obesity
A tool for healthcare providers to build motivational interviewing skills. Engage in a conversation with a virtual mother and her son and apply motivational interviewing techniques to drive positive change in health behaviors.