The Four Processes of MI: Engaging

By Mia Croyle, MA

In the third edition of Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change (Miller & Rollnick, 2013), we are introduced to the four processes.  The first of these is engaging.  Our goal in this process is to establish and maintain a collaborative working relationship with the other person.

Ways to promote engagement:

  • Ask for and listen to what the other person wants
  • Seek an understanding of how important the topic at hand may be to the other person
  • Look for what you can genuinely appreciate and comment positively about
  • Provide the person with some sense of what to expect
  • Offer hope – explain how what you do may help

Ways to promote disengagement:

  • Assume an expert role
  • Move too quickly into an assessment process
  • Prematurely focus on one specific problem
  • Use language that indicates labeling or blaming



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