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What Is Motivational Interviewing? (MI)

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach that focuses on engaging, encouraging and facilitating intrinsic motivation within the individual in order to promote behaviour change. It is often used as a part of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help people recognize, explore and resolve their ambivalence about behaviour change.

MI is focused, goal-directed and directive. Its purpose is the resolution of ambivalence and the therapist is very directive in pursuing this goal. Although originally developed to help people to overcome substance use problems, MI is now used to explore and enhance motivation for changing almost any behaviour.

MI understands and assumes that different people start therapy with different levels of readiness and commitment to change. The main goals of MI are to assess for readiness and commitment to change and to engage clients and encourage and promote their motivation to change.

The main features of MI include the ideas that:

  1. The therapeutic relationship is a collaborative partnership.
  2. It is the client’s job to resolve their ambivalence.
  3. Motivation to change must be generated by the client and cannot be imposed from the outside.
  4. Most of the information comes from the client.
  5. Arguing and persuading do not help to resolve ambivalence.
  6. The goal of the therapist is to be directive to help resolve ambivalence.
  7. Readiness to change can be affected by the right kind of therapeutic communication.

Why choose CBT Associates?

CBT Associates is a large, well-established and rapidly-growing network of clinics that provides evidence-based psychological services to children, adolescents, adults of all ages, and couples.

We are a highly-qualified group of over 50 psychologists and psychological associates who provide personalized, compassionate, respectful and discreet treatment with the highest level of... Read More

What is the policy for cancelled or missed appointments?

To help us reliably meet the needs of all our clients, we must ask you to provide 24 hours’ notice when cancelling or rescheduling an appointment. Appointments without sufficient notice will be charged the full fee.

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What is a psychologist?


  • Are registered healthcare professionals who are regulated like physicians, surgeons, and dentists.
  • Work with individuals, groups and organizations to promote positive change by assessing and treating psychological problems.
  • Are trained to assess problems accurately using psychological tests and semi-structured interviews.... Read More
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists are closely aligned with psychiatrists as both are highly-trained professionals. Psychiatrists are oriented toward pharmaceutical solutions (some illnesses in fact lend themselves to medication versus talk therapy, such as severe depression or schizophrenia); while psychologists are oriented toward talk therapy as a solution.

Psychologists and psychiatrists both undertake... Read More

What is the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychologist?

The first important difference between psychotherapists and psychologists is the number of years of education and training required to register by each college. The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario requires members to complete any recognized training program in psychotherapy, with 450 hours of direct client contact, and 100 hours of clinical supervision. In contrast, to... Read More

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