How to Be a Successful Motivational Interviewer

Motivational Interviews are evidence-based interventions used by social workers, in this case, by social workers who have clients dealing with substance abuse, and are created to push the client to become motivated to change for their own benefit. A person must use  very specific and thoughtful tactics when conducting a motivational interview in order for said interview to be successful for the client and for that key sense of empowerment to be instilled. Here are some ways one can become a successful motivational interviewer.


  1. Giving Advice: One must be able to give advice to a client in a way that is nonjudgemental of the person or their situation as whole. Through educating the client and suggesting different idea or tips to the client, a social worker may be able to help the client reduce or stop substance abuse.
  2. Giving feedback: On the same token, a social worker must give feedback to the client about their substance abuse and how it may affect them in the long run. Again, this should be down in a nonconfrontational way, void of judgement.
  3. Being Empathetic: With motivational interviewing, there is a very personal, one-on-one aspect to the process, and many clients may find it difficult to share their stories and history of substance abuse. With that in mind, it is important that  social workers bring a sense of warmth, kindness, care, and respect when speaking with a client. One must be genuinely engaged in conversation and show a commitment to helping and motivating the client as they travel on their own unique road to sobriety.
  4. Giving Empowerment: Self-efficacy is a core part of motivational interviewing, and instilling a sense of empowerment in a client is necessary for change to come about.

Dealing with substance abuse is  a very difficult thing million of people go through, it is important that those who are attempting to help these people approach their kindness with kindness, respect, dignity, and a genuine interest in helping them change.


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