Behaviour change toward achieving a healthy lifestyle is important
for all Australians, and general practitioners have a key role to play in
assisting patients to make these changes.
This is the second of two articles on influencing behaviour change in
general practice. This article deals with the ‘how to’ of motivational
interviewing in the general practice setting.
Motivational interviewing can help build motivation, commitment and
confidence to change. General practitioners can use motivational
interviewing to help their patients achieve their health goals.
Motivational interviewing is not about a set of techniques and
questions; it is about creating a climate that facilitates change; it
is more about listening than telling, evoking rather than instilling.
Motivational interviewing can be done in the brief periods available in
consultations over time.
Motivational interviewing (MI) is a collaborative person centred guidance strategy to elicit and strengthen motivation to change.1 It evolved from Carl Roger’s client centred counselling approach which focuses on the person’s interests and concerns, but differs by being consciously directive toward resolving ambivalence and moving toward change.2 The goal is to increase intrinsic motivation rather than to impose it externally.3 It was initially developed from work with problem drinkers, where in comparison with confrontational directive styles, motivational reflective styles were associated with lower levels of resistance and a higher likelihood of long term change.4
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