4 Tips For Motivationally Interviewing Patients With Mental Illness

(1) It is really important for mental health social workers to express empathy when interviewing clients. Once a client accepts their illness it becomes easier to change the negative behavior. Reflective listening is very important in order to form a relationship with the client (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 160).


(2) The social worker needs to be able to develop discrepancy. It is normal for clients to recognize and explore differences between their goals for future behavior and their current behavior. Change is motivated by the client realizing that their future behavior can be different from their current behavior. It is also important that the client, and not the social worker, present ideas and arguments for future change (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 160).


(3) As a social worker in the mental health field, it is possible that you will come across clients who don’t want to change. When this occurs, it is important to roll with the resistance. Accept a client’s reluctance to change and don’t oppose their resistance directly. It is crucial for the client to be the primary resource in finding answers and solutions (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 160).


(4) The client needs to believe that positive change is possible. It is not the social workers job to choose and carry out a plan for future change. This falls directly on the client. By supporting self efficacy, the client can benefit immensely (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 160).


Works Cited:

DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work Issues and Opportunities (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.


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