The Spirited School Counselor


Motivational Interviewing in High School

motivational interviewing

I have been working at my internship site for several weeks now. Its been such a great learning experience and one of the techniques I have been focusing some energy into learning is motivational interviewing. Here is what I have discovered so far…

What is motivational interviewing?

Motivational interviewing was originally used when working with clients struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Since then it has been used to reach a wider range of clients and students. In initial sessions the main focus is showing an understanding of where the client is and what the client is going through. This is done through open ended questions, reflective listening, summarizing what the student has said, and using affirmations. By using these strategies it allows the client to see that you are meeting them where they are. Eventually the client will move toward change as he/she gains more self-awareness about the effects the undesired behavior is having on their life (consequences/risks/problems).

Why is it helpful with high school students?

I just consciously started using these techniques after a supervision session. My school counseling supervisor suggested this approach with a few of my students since it is a non-confrontational and non-judgmental approach to school counseling, something that some students, especially those who seem unmotivated, rarely experience in school (or in life, for that matter). This approach has a collaborative approach. School counselors and students work together to create ideas or possible solutions to the problem.

I am still doing research on this approach and will continue to practice these techniques. I have only used this approach a few times so far yet I saw an immediate difference in the students. I found a couple articles that I found helpful: Using Motivational Interviewing to Help Your Students & Motivational Interviewing with Academically Unmotivated Students

Do you use motivational interviewing with your students? Have you found it to be helpful?

What other approaches do you find helpful when working with seemingly unmotivated students?

Thanks for stopping by!