Discussion 2: motivational interviewing vs. traditional assessment

While professional interviewing can elicit information, motivational interviewing is a collaborative, conversational approach for evoking a service user’s own motivation to change. Not only do you draw upon an individual’s needs, using motivational interviewing helps to empower the service user to make the necessary changes to improve their well-being. Traditional assessment is often a question and answer process versus motivational interviewing, which is conversational and motivational. It is critical to note that traditional assessments are complex and are specific psychometric measurements that require reliability and validity in order to be a true assessment measure. Reliability is the degree to which an assessment is consistent, and validity is the degree to which an assessment measures what it intends to measure. As an advanced human services professional practitioner, you will generally use motivational interviewing more often than psychometric assessment instruments, however, this is dependent upon your practice or employment, or even your credentials. When you use assessment measures, it is important to understand the notion of reliability and validity.

In motivational interviewing, it is critical to understand and utilize communication styles that are effective. Without the appropriate communication style, the interview no longer elicits the right information nor empowers the individual. Identifying your communication style and approach is important in developing your skills in motivational interviewing. As you will discover in the readings, this week, some communication styles are more appropriate than others when using motivational interviewing.

In this Discussion, you will identify your communication style and consider how it may affect your approach to motivational interviewing. You also will compare motivational interviewing to traditional assessment techniques used in human services settings.

To Prepare

  •  Pay particular attention to the continuum of communication styles (directing, guiding, and following) and the role of each in motivational interviewing. Then, identify your dominant communication style.
  • Review the Learning Resources on traditional assessment techniques and motivational interviewing. Consider how the goals of motivational interviewing are similar to and different from the goals of traditional assessment techniques.
  • Post a brief explanation of where you believe you currently fall on the continuum of communication styles, and explain how your style may affect your approach to motivational interviewing. Then, describe the traditional assessment techniques you currently use in your organization or those with which you are familiar. Compare motivational interviewing to one traditional assessment technique. In your comparison, be sure to address how the goals of motivational interviewing are similar to and different from the goals of the traditional technique.
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