What is Motivational Interviewing?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center, Treatment & Therapy  
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in-person counseling session between male client and female counselor

Change in life is frequent. Whether we decide to change the television channel or our wardrobe, maintain healthier eating practices or pursue a healthier work/life balance, we change far more on a day-to-day basis than we typically realize.

There are so many external factors – media, family and peers, etc. – that together influence the changes we make. But ultimately, that desire to change, and to uphold our new practice once the change has taken place, must come from within us.

Motivational interviewing – communication between client and health expert, to strengthen the client’s motivation and foster a commitment to better practices – proves that change can start externally. In guiding an individual through concrete steps where they identify issues, outline a path toward change for the better and then go about realizing that path, motivational interviewing actually provides a roadmap for anyone struggling with recurring, negative behavioral habits.

The success of any motivational interviewing session hinges on the relationship between anyone involved. It’s not a class, or a teaching opportunity; rather, each individual learns about the other, through a partnership that sees everyone involved work toward a better version of themselves. Rather than position the client as somehow beneath the medical health professional, motivational interviewing really emphasizes a readiness for change, and the steps required to make those changes permanent.

What can I expect from a motivational interviewing session?

There are a few things you can expect from motivational interviewing, as a communicative form of treatment. Any therapist hosting a motivational interviewing session will first and foremost look to make anyone else involved feel comfortable. Clear, honest communication can only take place if the session is hosted in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.

Here are 3 other pillars of most motivational interviewing sessions:

1. A session defined by empathy

An empathetic therapist during a motivational interview can make all the difference. Empathy – being able to understand what others are feeling – is critical for a successful session, especially early on. Therapists will be able to see the world through their clients’ eyes, and to feel what they feel when they describe their experiences, good and bad. Clients during a motivational interviewing session need to feel like they are heard and understood, to provide the groundwork for a constructive discussion.

2. A venue for open discussion

A successful motivational interviewing session provides a venue for open discussion. As a client, you should feel comfortable bringing absolutely everything to the table. In addition, therapists are used to dealing with feedback, even with resistance. Motivational interviewing allows you the platform to talk freely and openly about your life, without restriction.

You can expect that your therapist or counselor, during regular conversation, will suggest best practices, alternative coping mechanisms, and alternative points of view to help you better pursue a healthy, happy life. Both ends of the conversation benefit from open discussion, which the motivational interview format always offers.

3. A conversation with someone who believes in you

Even if you don’t believe in your own capacity for change, know that you will be conversing with a therapist or a counselor who does. In fact, motivational interviewing is built on that premise: that you have the ability to foster and to maintain positive change in your own life. Especially if you have difficulty seeing that potential in yourself, your therapist will make a point of highlighting your capacity to positively control your own life. Through a conversational format, motivational interviewing helps you overcome self-doubt and reach a place where you can begin to take small, concrete steps toward the life you want to live.

What is communication like during motivational interviewing?

Therapists who regularly hold motivational interviewing sessions with clients follow a simple acronym – OARS – when it comes to leading thoughtful, comfortable, productive conversations with clients. OARS as an acronym outlines the type of interaction that defines motivational interviewing:

Open-ended questions – Questions with no immediate or factual answer. These questions are meant to promote discussion and prompt thought. There isn’t often an easy “yes” or “no” answer when it comes to open-ended questions; rather, they’re questions offered by the therapist or counselor that allow the client to dive deeper into their own reasoning or outlook.

Affirmation – A recognition of the positive aspects of a client. More than a compliment, an affirmation means taking a moment, as a therapist or a counselor, to recognize a particular strength of a client, or something that the client does well. As a client, enjoy the moments when you can pause and take affirmations to heart. Affirming a client’s strengths helps to provide a balance between polished areas of a client’s life and areas where the therapist finds opportunity for improvement. Affirmations also help the client see that opportunities for change aren’t as far off as self-doubt often makes them appear.

Reflection – The moments when a therapist or client takes the time to listen, rather than speak, to absorb the other’s words and thoughts. Reflection is what provides balance during the conversation format that motivational interfering follows, especially during those moments when a client is describing specific details of his or her life, or when the therapist in turn outlines positive life practices. Reflection doesn’t mean blindly following suggestions; rather, it means taking the time to really register the other’s words, and to put them to use toward the betterment of the conversation itself, and their own life.

Summary – A specific type of precise reflection, summary means essentially summarizing the high points of a specific motivational interviewing session. Before allowing the conversation to move toward another topic, or to focus on another specific area of interest, your therapist or counselor will often seek to summarize what has taken place in the conversation thus far. Whether it’s just a summary of your last few comments, or of their points regarding life improvement, summary allows you to benefit from conversation points without overly dwelling on them.

Achieving positive life change through the motivational interview format

A demonstrated benefit for clients who benefit from discussions, motivational interviewing helps to make the desk between therapist and client fade away. Therapy quickly becomes a conversation between one individual and another, where treatment, life, challenges, struggles and victories can all be discussed openly.

Through it all, the goal is change. Positive change comes from within, and when motivated by the right factors, will remain permanent after the change has been installed. Whether you’re answering an open-ended question, identifying your goals and aspirations or identifying with your therapist’s suggestions, motivational interviewing helps you take defined steps toward a better version of yourself.

Pyramid Online Counselors are here to help. Please contact us today to schedule your appointment.

What is Online Counseling?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center, Treatment & Therapy  
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teenager communicating with counselor through laptop

Online counseling is hardly a new service. In fact, the internet has long allowed counselors and therapists to offer valuable treatment sessions virtually, allowing clients to get the help they need from the comfort of their own homes. However, a global pandemic has certainly contributed to a rise in the need for online counseling services, especially for those individuals who were receiving those same therapy services through an in-person, in-office environment.

Fortunately, online counseling – mental and behavioral health counseling delivered through the internet – provides clients with a safe, effective means to receive the treatment they need virtually. Even without sharing the room with a therapist, online counseling services can connect you with a licensed health professional to address your needs.

Let’s dive into the basics of online counseling: what it is, what it’s not, and how it can help you source the care you need from licensed health professionals.

Online counseling: the benefits and the drawbacks.

Let’s get one thing straight: online counseling is different than traditional, in-person counseling. For one, there is a physical distance between client and counselor. Both clients and counselors now need to worry about online security and technological issues. Body language can be harder for an online counselor to read, and it’s often more mentally difficult for clients to receive the care they need in a home environment that’s often busy.

Many insurance providers are slowly onboarding online counseling into their core packages, though many still do not fully cover the same counseling that was once covered as an in-person service. In addition, there’s a widespread misconception that online counselors cannot prescribe medication.

Though different in practice, online counseling still seeks to serve the same goals: helping you take and maintain control of your own life. Online counseling also offers a few distinctive benefits. First, you have the ability to receive first-rate counseling without ever having to leave your own home! Once you can create an at-home environment where you can comfortably receive care without interruption, online counseling offers a more convenient avenue to receive therapy on your schedule.

Online counseling is also incredibly accessible. Individuals who have trouble reaching a counselor’s office are now only a computer away from critical online therapy. Individuals who are hard of hearing can turn up their audio until they can comfortably hear their counselor and follow the conversation. Anyone experiencing visual impairments can digitally adjust their screen to more clearly optimize their online counseling session to their benefit.

Online counseling is not in-person counseling. But through an effort on the part of both the client and the counselor, we can together bridge the distance to ensure that everyone still receives the full extent of the care they need.

How can online counseling help me?

Online counseling provides many of the same benefits that you’ve likely come to expect from traditional counseling. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression or co-occurring disorders, online counseling helps adults and adolescents alike survive and thrive despite the challenges that life might present.

Online counseling is all about pairing the right client with the right type of treatment and level of care. Depending on the issues you’re facing, and the help you’re looking for, you’ll be paired with a licensed medical professional already accustomed to helping individuals like yourself.

Online psychiatrists who are licensed are also capable of prescribing FDA-approved medication, medicine prescribed and monitored by the same level of medical expert who would otherwise administer in-person therapy. No matter what you’re struggling with, online counseling helps you through life’s issues – large or small, isolated or ongoing. That’s exactly what you can come to expect from a certified online psychiatric provider: help navigating life’s issues, compounded by beneficial medication where suggested.

How do I get started with online counseling?

It’s easier than ever to begin your online counseling journey! All you need to do is navigate to the website of an online counseling clinic you trust. At Pyramid Online Counseling, that’s exactly what we’ve built: a reputable name now offering online counseling services from certified medical professionals. Once you’ve taken the time to learn a little more about the online counseling brand and the individual services we offer, you’re ready to begin your therapy journey.

Here are a few things to look for when getting started online:

  • An online counseling provider already familiar with the challenges you’re facing
  • An easy sign-up process that allows you to filter individual therapist profiles, to find the right fit for you
  • Counseling services from a provider with decades of in-person and virtual counseling experience
  • Board-eligible and board-certified medical health professionals to facilitate therapy

Congratulations on taking the first steps toward a happier, healthier day-to-day life. Online counseling allows you to receive many of the same benefits as traditional in-person counseling, all from the comfort of your own home. If you’re ready to get started, we’re ready to help. Navigate to Pyramid Online Counseling to begin your journey toward personal freedom today!