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Motivational Interviewing

The time during which patients are in the hospital are considered “reachable moments."

The time during which patients are in the hospital are considered “reachable moments,” when patients dealing with acute illnesses might have more motivation to change their substance use behaviors.

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative communication style that is patient-centered and focused on behavior change.

At the heart of motivational interviewing:

  • Partnership: Viewing the person as being an expert on their own lives and that you are partnering with them.
  • Acceptance: Remaining open to where the person is in the change process and appreciating them as a unique human being. 
  • Collaboration: You are doing your best to demonstrate that you value the person’s own ideas and are interested in what they have to say.
  • Evocation: You are doing your best to elicit the person’s own thoughts, ideas, perspectives, etc. prior to providing your own.

The core skills of motivational interviewing:

  • asking open ended questions
  • affirming strengths
  • reflecting back the person’s thoughts, ideas, feelings
  • summarizing to demonstrate understanding


If you are interested in learning more about Motivational Interviewing, please contact Fatima Castro, LCSW, Program Manager Substance Use Intervention Team, at