The Singapore Family Physician

Back to issue Vol 38 No. 1 - Obesity Prevention & Management

Introduction to Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Audrey Tan
The Singapore Family Physician Vol 38 No 1 - Obesity Prevention & Management
19 - 22
1 January 2012
Changing our patients’ health behaviour has always been difficult. To enhance their intrinsic motivation to change, we need to explore and resolve their ambivalence through motivational interviewing (MI). The four broad principles in MI are expressing empathy, developing discrepancy, rolling with resistance and supporting self-efficacy. Key skills in the practice of MI include using open ended questions, reflective listening and pulling change. While full blown MI may not be practical in our primary care setting, understanding the concept and principles of MI can help us be more patient-centred and collaborative which will help build motivation for change. Though time is a limiting factor for using MI in medical and public health settings, brief strategies like the Elicit-Provide-Elicit model can be used to give patients feedback and information about their health.