Motivational Interviewing for Loved Ones

Everyone knows that discussing tough topics with your teen and young adult children can be hard

Motivational Interviewing (“MI”) is a communication style that health professionals use to talk with patients about making healthy changes like reducing drug and alcohol use, taking medications regularly, or other lifestyle improvements. MI is based on the premise that the best way to influence another person’s behavior is by respecting their autonomy and creating space for them to explore their own ambivalence and (hopefully) motivation for change. Dr. Emily Kline, a clinical psychologist at Boston Medical Center and assistant professor at Boston University, has created a curriculum to teach parents and other loved ones MI-inspired communication strategies.

Although using MI requires training and practice, the building blocks are simple ideas such as asking open ended questions, listening carefully, and repeating back what you heard. We help parents and other family members have better conversations about difficult issues with teens and young adults through training, research, and community outreach.