Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Simcoe Addiction & Mental Health

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing is a very common tool that can be used in mentorship, social care, and therapy. It highlights what motivations clients have to want to change. It helps clients identify factors that make them feel uneasy, distressed, resistant, confused, or frustrated when it comes to the future while establishing that uncertainty is normal. As the person builds different insights into their behaviours and their motivations to do things, their future goals can shift. The aim is to allow clients to feel motivated and comfortable to reach future goals of any size.

Addressing The Issues

The conversations that therapists use focus on the barriers to change. Our professional clinical staff will be understanding and accepting of any barricades clients are facing, and any ambivalence they have about moving forward to an addiction-free, healthier future. Motivational interviewing depends on our staff being able to safely and supportively direct the speed of the changes that clients are looking for, as they recognize that change is often necessary but not when we feel entirely ready for it. Motivational interviewing is not designed to force anyone to change or to convince them they need to, but rather helps individuals who are open to change but feel lost or uncertain about how to get there.

MI includes several different stages to help guide the client’s thinking:

Pre-Contemplative Stage:

The client at this stage is not aware of any need for change, nor are they thinking of adopting any techniques toward implementing it.


The client becomes aware that something in their life is not working properly. They don’t have any plans to start changing at this juncture, but they are aware some kind of problem exists.

Determination /Preparation:

The client works on self-awareness at this stage. They understand there is a need and start creating an intention for change.

The Action Stage:

The client begins to take the behavioural or mental actions needed to step closer toward change. They are fully supported by a therapist in doing so.


This is the follow-through from the action stage. Old behaviours are no longer predominant and the new changes are stabilizing.

Termination and /or Relapse:

The client may find engaging in change is too much, causing negative or destructive behaviours, or relapse into old habits. However, the client may also find their new behaviours become automatic. If that’s the case, they can terminate the therapy, as intentional efforts to maintain their new behaviours are no longer needed.

Clients don’t always go through the phases in a direct or linear way. It’s important they don’t take on the therapist’s perspectives and are allowed to communicate in their own time and in their own way. Motivational interviewing will allow clients to overcome the lack of incentive or inspiration to change or achieve their goals.

If you would like to talk to one of the professionals at Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health about whether Motivational Interviewing (MI) is right for you or your loved one, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 1-833-304-8181.

Interested in learning about other treatment methods? Continue to our Treatment Methods page.