Stephen is a co-founder of motivational interviewing (MI), first introduced 1983 by William R. Miller in the mental health field. It’s use has spread into health care, criminal justice, education and most recently into sport. Interest in learning MI is probably borne of frustration in conversations about change that do not always go well: the more you try to insert information and advice into others, the more they tend to back off and resist. This was the original insight that generated our search for a more satisfying and effective approach. Put simply, this involves coming alongside the person and helping them to say why and how they might change for themselves.

The MI style, strategies and skills have been used to address a wide range of challenges, including those very tough conversations in which there seems little hope of making progress in helping people. They can also be used to enhance your ability to listen with skill in any situation, and to help people, young and old, to adapt and to develop their potential. MI is not a technique done to or on people, or even worse, a method for getting people to do what they otherwise would not wish to do. It is used with them, on their behalf. Learning MI is a challenging and enjoyable journey, and it changes you.

Among the skills you develop is an ability to de-clutter your mind and be curious about the person you are speaking to. Listening in this way can become an art form, in which you notice the language of change people use, and encourage them to face uncertainty, and to make decisions and plans that express their values and dreams for a more balanced life. This is a culturally adaptable approach and csn be used in very brief conversations. It is linked to and founded in the well-known style of a guide, and is being learned in over 50 languages around the world. There is a large international network of trainers. See the motivational interviewing website for trainers who volunteer their time to improve training and practice.