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A new classic
on May 8, 2004
If change were easy, a lot of us (psychologists, counselors, health care providers) would be out of work. Still, that doesn't stop us from complaining about those clients and patients who just won't do what we think is in their best interest. Motivational Interviewing, a "client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation," was developed specifically to help faciliate change in "resistant" populations and has been embraced by addictions treatment and general health care professionals alike. The entirely re-written, highly readable, second edition of MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING updates readers on the state of the art and science of MI, and provides a practical guide for helping people to make all kinds of behavior changes.
The book opens with a brief review of the converging lines of inquiry that supported the development of MI and an overview of core concepts such as readiness to change, ambivalence, and an interpersonally-based understanding of motivation. The second section is a guide to practice. While "spirit" is emphasized over technique, this section is filled with practical advice on how to increase motivation for change while minimizing resistance. A new chapter on ethics addresses the concerns that arise when attempting to motivate clients to do something they aren't sure they want to do. Consistent with the method's client-centered approach, the third section constitutes a chapter on learner-centered training in MI. The fourth section - comprising about half the volume - includes diverse contributed chapters on applications of MI. These include a discussion of MI and the Stages of Change model with which it is often associated; an excellent review of efficacy research in MI; adaptations of MI such as brief advice and MI with couples or groups; and applications with specific populations and settings. The application chapters necessarily vary in format but share in common careful consideration of the rationale for MI in the particular setting and the available evidence for success along with offering clinical wisdom from the field.
The first edition of Motivational Interviewing has become a modern classic in the field, and the second edition is a worthy successor. Whereas the first edition presented MI as an alternative to traditional approaches to treating addictions, the second edition presents MI as an approach to helping people get "unstuck" regardless of the kind of behavior change in question. The key principles are more fully thought out, yet streamlined and presented in an almost conversational tone. The humanistic values that underlie MI are more consistently evident, yet the dedication to empirical validation of clinical insights remains. There is enough new material to justify buying this book even if you already have the first edition. - reviewed by Deborah Van Horn - first posted 5/16/02, updated 5/18/04.