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What is motivational interviewing?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
To facilitate the change process during recovery from addiction, clinicians frequently use an evidence-based treatment approach known as motivational interviewing. This is a more respectful "kinder, gentler" approach compared with the traditional "tough love" approach to addiction treatment. Motivational interviewing supports people to explore their feelings about their addiction and to examine the discrepancies between their behaviors and their goals. Although this treatment is designed to avoid shame and blame, the client is continually encouraged to take responsibility for his or her actions and choices.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.