Motivational interviewing

Published: March, 2014

An approach to counseling for behavior change attracts growing interest.

In the 1990's, researchers sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted Project MATCH, one of the largest clinical trials ever undertaken. They compared three treatments for alcoholism: cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step facilitation (preparation for Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step self-help groups); and motivational enhancement therapy, a technique aimed at improving readiness and willingness to change drinking habits. All three treatments were equally effective for several types of alcoholic patients, but motivational enhancement therapy took less time and cost less. This finding and others have drawn attention to motivational interviewing, the counseling method at the heart of motivational enhancement therapy.

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