Motivational Interviewing

An eating disorder requires change, and each client must be ready to make the necessary changes. One of the ways to begin the process of healing and change is through motivational interviewing. This form of therapy is one of many recovery tactics and strategies available at Magnolia Creek that helps clients find true health and happiness.

Motivational interviewing can play a big role in overcoming eating disorders. It’s a talk therapy format that encourages clients to take control, while pushing for the need for change. Motivational interviewing therapies are collaborative, not just instructive, giving clients a greater feeling of power and agency in their own lives. Motivational interviewing has the word “interviewing” in the title because it involves asking the client questions. A therapist may ask a client what obstacles are in their way or what situations have prevented their recovery in the past. We also provide clients with plenty of opportunities to contribute to the conversation, answer questions, and truly immerse themselves in the process of healing.

Motivational Interviewing Components

Understanding the Five Stages of Change

Motivational interviewing stems from the belief that change happens in five distinct stages. These stages are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Motivational interviewing helps clients move from one stage to the next, see the need for change, and have the desire to push forward on to the next stage.

  1. Pre-contemplation is the first stage for many clients. Either clients are unaware that they have an eating disorder, or they understand the diagnosis but don’t have any desire to change.
  2. The next stage is contemplation. At this point, clients may be seriously thinking about making a change, but they haven’t acted yet. It’s at this point that motivational interviewing can be incredibly helpful. It can help clients understand what specific changes they need to make.
  3. This helps them move to stage three, preparation, during which clients prepare for and commit to taking action to change in the foreseeable future.
  4. From there, clients can move to the action stage. This often happens in a recovery program when clients can make steady, effective, and consistent changes that help them recover.
  5. Finally, clients reach the maintenance stage, where they work to avoid relapse and maintain their health.

Creating What-if Scenarios

One tactic used in motivational interviewing is the use of what-if scenarios. By creating these scenarios in a controlled environment, clients can talk through their options and come up with solutions. Doing this in advance makes it easier to make the right choices in stressful situations.

For example, a therapist might ask a client, “If you are tired and stressed after a long workday, how could you unwind in a healthy way?” The client might then consider her options, which could include calling a close friend, going for a walk, or getting to bed early. All these options are healthy ways to relieve stress and avoid relapsing.

Kate Fisch headshot - Magnolia Creek


Kate Fisch, LCSW

Kate Fisch is the AVP of Clinical Operations for Odyssey’s Eating Disorder Network. With 17 years of clinical leadership and direct client care experience in the eating disorders field, she has a history of innovation, clinical training, and resource development in a variety of eating disorder treatment settings supporting families, clients, and clinicians.

If you’d like to learn more about motivational interviewing or our other treatment offerings, our caring staff is ready to help. Call us or fill out the form to get started today.

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