Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence. MI is a guiding style of communication, that sits between following (good listening) and directing (giving information and advice). MI is designed to empower people to change by drawing out their own meaning, importance and capacity for change. MI is based on a respectful and curious way of being with people that facilitates the natural process of change and honors client autonomy.

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

The goals of Motivational Interviewing (MI) are: Enhance internal motivation to change, reinforce this motivation, and develop a plan to achieve change

Continuum of Care:
Indicated Prevention, Selective Prevention, Treatment

Topic Areas:
Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Substance Use

Adult (25+), Childhood (4-12), Teen/Adolescent (13-18), Young Adult (19-24)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:

Cultural Considerations:
Significant and well-articulated attention was given to disparities in outcomes


There are no minimum educational requirements to be trained in Motivational Interviewing


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
Multiple places offer MI training. The training can be done via workshop or as an individual study. Please click here for more details.

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

O’Brennan, L. M., Suldo, S. M., Shaunessy-Dedrick, E., Dedrick, R. F., Parker, J. S., Lee, J. S., Ferron, J. M., & Hanks, C. (2020). Supports for youth in accelerated high school curricula: An initial study of applicability and acceptability of a motivational interviewing intervention. The Gifted Child Quarterly, 64(1), 19-40.

Moore, R. S., Gilder, D. A., Grube, J. W., Lee, J. P., Geisler, J. A., Friese, B., Calac, D. J., Finan, L. J., & Ehlers, C. L. (2018). Prevention of underage drinking on california indian reservations using individual- and community-level approaches. American Journal of Public Health (1971), 108(8), 1035-1041.

Lee, J. A., Heberlein, E., Pyle, E., Caughlan, T., Rahaman, D., Sabin, M., & Kaar, J. L. (2021). Evaluation of a resiliency focused health coaching intervention for middle school students: Building resilience for healthy kids program. American Journal of Health Promotion, 35(3), 344-351.

Wright, M. E., Delacroix, E., Sonneville, K. R., Considine, S., Proctor, T., Steffes, J., Harris, D., Shone, L. P., Woo, H., Vaughan, R., Grundmeier, R. W., Fiks, A. G., Stockwell, M. S., & Resnicow, K. (2020). Reducing paediatric overweight and obesity through motivational interviewing: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial in the AAP PROS research network. BMJ Open, 10(7), e035720-e035720.

Sherwood, N. E., Levy, R. L., Langer, S. L., Senso, M. M., Crain, A. L., Hayes, M. G., Anderson, J. D., Seburg, E. M., & Jeffery, R. W. (2013). Healthy Homes/Healthy kids: A randomized trial of a pediatric primary care-based obesity prevention intervention for at-risk 5-10 year olds. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 36(1), 228-243.

Lundahl, B. W., Kunz, C., Brownell, C., Tollefson, D. & Burke, B. L. (2010). A meta-analysis of Motivational Interviewing: Twenty-five years of empirical studies. Research on Social Work Practice, 20(2), 137-160.

Additional Sources:

Well-Supported by Research

WV Rating:
Well-Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

Multiple studies, randomized control trials, and meta-analysis make it clear that Motivational Interviewing is well supported for children, adolescents, and transitional youth for underage drinking prevention, nutrition, obesity, depression, behavioral problems, and conduct disorders.

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Not On Registry

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Found on the registry. See link for more information.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy Registry Link: AreaSelection=ALL&SearchQueries%5B0%5D.paramType=KE YWORD_ANY&SearchQueries%5B0%5D.paramJoin=AND&Se archQueries%5B0%5D.mainSearch=true&SearchQueries%5B0 %5D.valueString=motivational+interviewing