The four processes that happen in a conversation are: engage, focus, develop motivation, and plan. In today’s lesson, we’ll focus on the first two: engaging and focusing. 


Here is a brief overview of your duties during an MI-session. In a motivational interview, we begin to engage and establish a contact with the person before the next step, finding a focus for the interview. The focus could be to establish a relationship, to investigate or to justify a concrete change in behavior, so-called target behavior, such as quitting smoking, changing jobs or leaving a dysfunctional relationship. A target behavior is a behavior that the person can change. We elicit the motivation of the person and make a plan.


The conversation begins with engaging the other person. Your tasks include:

  • Establishing a climate of cooperation through, among other things, active listening (confirmations, open researched questions, reflections and summaries).

  • Taking an MI approach (collaboration, acceptance, inducing the person's motivation and goodwill). These will help engage the person.

  • Asking for permission to explore the person's view of what is happening. Listen actively to what the person sees at the reason for contact.


Zoom in on the reason for the person wanting to talk to you. Your tasks include:

  • Asking and assessing the person's motivation in relation to why he or she wants to see you. Are they looking for help for themselves or for someone else?

  • Asking about how important it is for the person to change and how much faith they have in their ability to succeed in making change possible.

If the person is not willing to change, you can:

1. Provide information on the subject by asking for permission to provide information; explore what the person already knows about the subject; explore how the person connects information with their own sense of self.

2. Emphasize autonomy - that is the person chooses for themselves. 

3. You can ask what is positive about what is happening and what are the negative consequences of it. This last question can lead to problems in recognition and can increase the person's attention to the negative consequences of the problem.

If the person is ambivalent, you can:

Explore ambivalence by identifying with the person about the pros and cons of the situation as it is now and the disadvantages and advantages of a change.

If the person is ready to start with a change, you can:

Make an action plan containing the following points: When? How? How? Who can support and help the person?

Today’s task
Today, you should try to observe if the people you meet are either not prepared, are ambivalent or are willing to change.