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J Contemp Psychother. 2015 Sep;45(3):167-176.

Client and Therapist Views about Intensive and Standard Motivational Interviewing.

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Private Practice, Berkeley, CA.
Private Practice, San Francisco, CA.
New Leaf Treatment Center, Lafayette, CA.


Although motivational interviewing (MI) is a widely used intervention for alcohol and drug problems, little is known about client and therapist experiences. Client and therapist views could help better understand how MI works and what factors are important. This paper investigates experiences of clients and therapists who participated in a study that examined a standard single session of MI (MI 1) and a more intensive 9-session model (MI 9) for methamphetamine dependence. Qualitative methods included open ended questions presented to 184 clients at 2-month follow-up and 189 clients at 6-month follow-up. In addition, a focus group consisting of two therapists who delivered the interventions and two adherence monitors who listened to audiotape recordings of sessions was conducted. Clients in both conditions felt supportive, nonjudgmental therapist attitudes were helpful. Most clients in the MI 9 condition but few receiving MI 1 volunteered that feedback and advice were helpful. A strong majority in both conditions desired more sessions. Expert panel members emphasized: 1) multiple benefits of a nonjudgmental stance, 2) finding the right balance among different MI interventions, and 3) understanding the interaction of supportive and directive interventions. Panel members also emphasized that one advantages of MI 9 over MI 1 was that it enabled client change plans to be implemented over time.


Client Views; Methamphetamine; Motivational Interviewing; Psychotherapy; Randomized Clinical Trial; Therapist Views; Treatment Dose

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