Motivational Interviewing Tips for Providers

May 17, 2024

Initially developed in the field of substance misuse treatment, motivational interviewing (MI) is a practice that recognizes the importance of coming alongside the person to resolve ambivalence. While reoccurrences are common when managing chronic health conditions like diabetes or hypertension, people experiencing substance use challenges are often held to a different standard. Behavior change is often the focus, but it is just one dimension of motivation. Psychological readiness, self-efficacy, environment and cultural experiences, along with social structures and systems, are other factors that could be explored through the process of MI.

This guide offers an evidence-based approach to having a collaborative dialogue with an individual based on their readiness for change.

Key highlights of the guide include:

  • Questions to ask yourself before you have a conversation with your client
  • Scenarios with listening statements that display empathy and cultural humility
  • Examples of affirming statements
  • Examples of open-ended questions

This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,500,000 with 100% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.