Benefits of Using Motivational Interviewing with Students


  • Marian H Paller, MS, CHES, ACE-CPT, CHWC, CTI Independence University


motivational interviewing, higher education, students


Often times students struggle with the motivation to do what they need to do to be successful in school. Motivation to make changes can be difficult to sustain as students continue to pursue their education. Motivational Interviewing was developed in 1983 as a way to help clients with addictions but can used in a variety of settings including school settings. Motivational Interviewing can be used in conversation with students to strengthen their personal motivation and commitment in making changes. Students ultimately want to be heard, understood and valued. The core values supporting students that go hand in hand with Motivational Interviewing include autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Using Motivational Interviewing skills helps the instructor build rapport with the student, support their autonomy, and guide them towards being a successful student.

Motivational Interviewing tools include asking open and closed ended questions and various types of reflections both simple and complex. Asking questions gives the instructor a way to encourage the student to give a long or short answer, while reflections are statements that reflect the words of the student to make sure you understood what they said whether it be simple or complex. Simple reflections which include content reflections and summarizing while complex reflections include feeling and meaning, double-sided, action reflections, and rolling with resistance.

Benefits of using Motivational Interviewing tools in conversation indicate that there is a positive effect and the effectiveness of guiding someone towards change increases as the number of Motivational Interviewing encounters increase. Using motivational interviewing tools in conversations with students gives us what we need to be able to create a place in which their autonomy is supported and they are ultimately guided to be a successful student.





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