Motivational Interviewing for Positive Change

flowers_ Zuma_beach

Focus on the flowers, not the weeds. 

At Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Healthy Living, we use motivational interviewing with our patients to make changes for a healthier lifestyle.

What is Motivational Interviewing?

It’s a Conversation… 

~ That is collaborative  

~ That respects people’s language of change 

~ That allows people to talk themselves into change

~ That helps people resolve ambivalence…

  • Help me understand?
  • How important is this to you? 

Ambivalence – Mixed Feelings  

  • Is normal 
  • Occurs throughout the change process 
  • Reflects cost and benefits of change and the status quo 
  • Is uncomfortable 
  • May become chronic 
  • Is resolved by the patient –  Bem’s Self-Perception Theory  
  • Get others to talk. When we hear ourselves talk we change. 


Stages or Circle of Change 

  • Pre-contemplation (no problem) 
  • Contemplation (maybe a problem) 
  • Determination (decision to change) 
  • Action (takes time) 
  • Maintenance (new habit) 
  • Relapse (perhaps)


Thomas Gordon’s 12 Communication Roadblocks 

  1. Ordering, directing or commanding 
  2. Warning or threatening 
  3. Giving advice, making suggestions or providing solutions 
  4. Persuading with logic, arguing or lecturing 
  5. Moralizing, preaching or telling clients what they “should” do 
  6. Disagreeing, judging, criticizing or blaming 
  7. Agreeing, approving or praising 
  8. Shaming, ridiculing or labeling 
  9. Interpreting or analyzing 
  10. Reassuring, sympathizing or consoling 
  11. Questioning or probing 
  12. Withdrawing, distracting, humoring or changing the subject 

Are you getting Weeds or Flowers in your communications? 

If you’re getting weeds, what questions are you asking?

Make your questions, open questions.

Closed question: Will get a yes or no answer or specific answer. 


  • Are you journaling? 
  • Are you exercising? 

Open question: Tell me about… 


  • How are you getting along? 
  • What concerns do you have? 



What is on your helpful and not helpful list when communicating?

Not Helpful…

Condescending, Judgmental, Put downs, Ulterior motive… 


Positive attitude, Supportive, Listening, Empathy… 



Motivational interviewing has been very useful in my practice as a Lifestyle Educator. It creates a comfortable atmosphere as we all work together in partnership to pursue well-being. It puts the power in the hands of those who are asking for help.

It is a blessing to be a part of a team that leads Healthy Living Programs at Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City.

For your health,

Maria Lauren, AKA Maria Elena Alberici -Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

My Website

you_got_the_power_maria_lauren_Riccio_alberici_your_powerful_life_blogThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.


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