More Widespread Use of Motivational Interviewing Encouraged

Encouraging patients to be more in tune with their own reasons for pathogenic behaviors can make them more likely to change.

The acronym “MI” has traditionally meant myocardial infarct, or heart attack. Recently it’s taken on a new, more salubrious meaning: motivational interviewing.

A growing number of docs are practicing this technique, which amounts to listening to patients to help them recognize their internal sources of behavior. Boston’s NPR affiliate, WBUR, describes typical MI interventions in which doctors, instead of demanding that patients stop smoking or drinking or overeating, gently encourage them to get in touch with their reasons for pathogenic behaviors, a process which leaves them more likely to change.