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Motivational Interviewing In Helping Adolescents

Motivational Interviewing In Helping Adolescents Free Essay

Motivational Interviewing In Helping Adolescents

Motivational interviewing can be described as a psychological treatment method aiming at enhancing the motivation of a person to alter his or her problematic behavior through exploring as well as resolving his ambivalence concerning the change. In the majority of cases, the approach has been employed in tackling the issues of substance use as well as depression among the adolescents. The technique is implemented through a brief intervention procedure created in response to the problems regarding the traditional confrontation method used to handle addiction issues in a person (Arkowitz, Westra, Miller, & Rollnick, 2007).

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However, motivational interviewing has caused an assumption that a person always has an intrinsic motivation, that is, they wish their behaviors to be changed but they do not know or cannot force themselves to accept and apply the way of alteration as it interferes with the habitual and convenient state of affairs. These people may be at a separate stage of willingness to adapt to change. The key objective of motivational interviewing is to assist them in planning and maintaining the change. The technique concentrates on collaborating with the clients as well as affirming their autonomy and the right for the choice. The strategy emphasizes on rolling with and observing the client’s resistance instead of arguing with it. It also provides a chance to work freely with the victims or patients at a range of different levels of change. It is due to this attributes of the technique that the approach is considered useful for the youth, especially the adolescents (Herman, Reinke, Frey, & Shepard, 2014).

The application of motivational interview with a depressed adolescent may be extremely useful for his or her recovery or even life. The idea is additionally helpful for the clinicians trying to explore several possible means of dealing with an outcome of a treatment to all kinds of patients who appear despondent, not only the adolescents. The technique at hand may also prove helpful on the teenagers who seem repressed and may experience ambivalences concerning their life choices (Shen, Hales, Shahrokh, & Dulcan, 2010). The following essay describes the application of MI, particularly on the depressed youth. The essay also discusses the pros and cons of the application of this technique.


Besides the approach of motivational interviewing, several other psychotherapies have been regarded effective as far as the depression treatment is concerned, although a significant number of clients have not shown any advanced signs of improving their condition even after receiving some of the finest empirically supported kinds of therapies, for instance the CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) and the IPT (Interpersonal Therapy). To support such claims, the report released by Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Society (TADS) shows that only 48 percent of the clients receiving the treatment recorded a positive response to this technique. This challenged the rest of stakeholders to consider and research various options of dealing with depressed adolescents or even integrating the existing approach with other methods (Herman, Reinke, Frey, & Shepard, 2014).

Motivational interviewing provides a framework for modifying or strengthening the existing depression’s treatment techniques in this age group. (Wagner & Ingersoll, 2013) suggest several reasons for MI being notably helpful in solving this problem in teenagers. First of all, this method addresses various depression symptoms and this is because depression is associated with certain interest loss or loss of pleasure in the majority of activities. The clients suffering from depression may indeed lose the motivation necessary for involving themselves in therapy tasks. Motivational interviewing focuses less on the factual activity of the patient as compared to other methods, like the cognitive behavioral approaches, for example. While the motivational interviewing may involve the activities such as worksheets, as well as between-session kind of behavioral experiments, the challenges are not exemplified as homework and the failure to totally complete these tasks is perceived as an understandable ambivalence instead of being a treatment resistant factor (Arkowitz, Westra, Miller, & Rollnick, 2007).

Secondly, motivational interviewing has all the potential to boost the incentive for the productive activities of the despondent adolescents without arousing the resistance to their goals. This is possible since the ideas implemented to achieve this are presented in a non-directive manner, that is, by guiding, advising and allowing the patients to come to understanding of the necessity of the application of such treatment by themselves. They are not framed as assignments but suggestions. Thirdly, motivational interviewing accentuates on the relationships developments that are genuine and empathetic. Recent research indicates that some of these factors do present substantial curative kinds of benefits to the depressed clients (DiClemente, Santelli, & Crosby, 2009).

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Another benefit of using MI on adolescent patients is that the technique affords certain flexibility in putting the attribution and conceptualization of the clients’ depression in line. The other existing therapies may not have such marked positive results in their attempt to align the understanding of the clients’ depression and may therefore force clients to seek a prescribed therapy undertaking that may be inappropriate or rather aversive. In motivational interviewing the self efficacy of the repressed young personality is highly supported in assisting the definition of the form of the treatment of this particular client and the resulting kind of treatment may be largely tailored towards the preferences and the formulation of the teenager (Cormier, Nurius, & Osborn, 2009).

There is adequate evidence to support the claim that MI is of considerable efficiency in offering treatment to the depressed youths or the adolescents. However, there is no randomized or controlled trail of the technique for client’s depression that has been undertaken of late. The application of this method has revealed a great improvement and effectiveness while  this major issue on the adolescents. The single-session kind of MI has proved effective in curbing substance use among the group. Psychologists have also indicated that change-readiness in a person plays a vital role in the expected outcome of the treatment (Miller, 2013).

Recent findings show that the treatments that are focused on enhancing change motivation have the necessary potential to correct the outcomes of the treatment. There are the adolescents who are distressed and ready to change but they are confused in terms of what type of changes to introduce, that is, which out of the multitude of life advances to pursue. There are several researches and discussions conducted on the people suffering from choice ambivalence and for these kinds of problems psychologists or motivators employ a decision balance approach. Contrary to other motivational interviewing applications, the psychologists advocate for the implementation of MI, stressing on decisional balance. This approach enables the clients or the victims to identify their dilemma clearly and make a conscious as well as a willful directional choice (Arkowitz, Westra, Miller, & Rollnick, 2007).

While using the motivational interviewing, the strategies to be applied may include exploring the discrepancies existing between the goals of the clients and the issue affecting them. For instance, substance use or depression. Secondly, examining the disadvantages as well as the advantages of both using and not using the substance, this approach may be regarded as a decisional balance form of matrices in the guidance and problem solving on the client. The third strategy is initiating a change talk whereby the motivator encourages the client to lead a positive life (Shen, Hales, Shahrokh, & Dulcan, 2010).

MI has been considered one of the productive techniques of solving the issues among the youths, especially the adolescents. The issues or problems with the adolescents, for instance, substance use and depression are largely neutralized by the application of the technique. However, despite the substantial research on the application of the method on substance use and depression, wide variations have been noted. These include the type of motivational interviewing employed on the victim or patient and the methodology research quality, which causes difficulties in deducing a definite conclusion concerning its effectiveness. Some motivational interviews or interventions are as short as fifteen minutes while others may last as long as 9 months (Miller, 2013).

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The emphasis on separate MI components, such as focusing on the benefits as well as shortcomings of the issue or incorporating the whole intervention, also makes it difficult to deduce it efficacy. Additionally, the fact that the technique may be used in combination with other existing techniques, like the CBT also makes it complicated for researchers to draw its success. It is challenging to make a comparison between the interventions of MI and the question whether the technique is beneficial to firmly recognize or establish the components that are definitely effective. Some scholars say that it is arduous to examine how the treatment works. For instance, it is not clear whether the method promotes the readiness of the client to transform or for whom the technique works best. One of the primary components of this technique, especially to the adolescents, includes issuing the feedback on the comparison of the problems associated with the client with the norms of the community and the psycho-education regarding the behavior’s negative consequences (Arkowitz, Westra, Miller, & Rollnick, 2007).

While undertaking motivational interviewing on the adolescents the basic steps should be followed to ensure a fruitful session. The motivator is supposed to indulge their client in an open-ended set of questions. This kind of questionnaire uses client’s own words and is not judgmental or bias. The questions are not basically answered with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. Let us say, the motivator may evade the question of asking the adolescent whether he is feeling well to avoid this kind of answers. Instead, they request the client to tell him or her how he is feeling. In this way the motivator will be able to start learning the issues with this teenager more profoundly from the very beginning of the conversation and design the best possible way of dealing with their problems (Wagner, & Ingersoll, 2013).

Affirming is the second appropriate step. The affirmations are specific statements that identify the efforts and strengths of the client. For example, the motivator should convince the client that they are really connected to their family as well as friends and they love him. Thirdly, the motivator uses reflective listening. This consists of the motivator’s ability to clarify the feeling and meaning of what the client is saying. Supposedly, the motivator may deduce and tell the client that he or she seems not to be comfortable with their current relationship with the loved one. Eliciting various kinds of self-motivational statements is also used in this method. Some people regard it as a change talk. If a person has a belief that he is capable of changing, then this is a clear indication or a predictor that the client will succeed in bringing change into their life. The initial phase of affirming the belief and initiating a change-talk is by asking the client about the level of confidence and realization of the importance of the process they are in while undergoing the behavior change. The final step is summarizing the conversation. At the end of the interview or the conversation, the motivator should make a summary of the talk and underline the conclusions as well as the decisions resulting from the talk. This reinforces and links together what the client has stated during the course of motivational intervention (Herman, Reinke, Frey, & Shepard, 2014).


MI assists adolescent patients in identifying their conflicts emerging between their values, have an idea on how these clashes lead to their distressful condition and take a step forward in solving these difficulties later in life. The research need not be used as a stand-alone practice while offering treatment to the sufferers. This weakness is attributed by the fact that the youth encounter more positive and stronger messages from several other sources, such that even after undergoing an efficient MI, after a short while the clients may eventually forget the proceeds or the advice and the pledges they made while in the session.

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