Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health Treatment Program in NJ

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Footprints to Recovery Mental Health New Jersey

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

During outpatient mental health treatment in New Jersey, our licensed and certified clinicians utilize motivational interviewing to help you identify, understand, and change unhealthy beliefs and behaviors.

Motivational Interviewing, MI

Motivating yourself can be difficult – especially when facing challenges or making changes in your life. Motivational interviewing helps give individuals the space they need to explore their own goals, while mental health professionals provide supportive guidance.

At Footprints to Recovery, we utilize motivational interviewing techniques to foster a safe and encouraging environment where our clients can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. Throughout treatment, you will work with a team of experienced and licensed mental health professionals to create an individualized plan that focuses on meeting your needs and preferences. With our support, you can learn how to best meet your goals and become the person you want to be.


The healing process can pose many challenges - all of which can be difficult to cope with on your own.

Our team of licensed mental health professionals can help you manage your symptoms and create a new, more fulfilling life.


We accept most major insurance provider plans.

If you have coverage of any kind, we will work with you to determine your benefits for mental health treatment. Any information you share with us is kept strictly confidential.

What Is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a collaborative and client-centered therapeutic approach aimed at facilitating behavioral change by exploring and resolving ambivalence. Developed by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick in the early 1980s, MI is rooted in the principles of empathy, collaboration, and autonomy.

The primary goal of motivational interviewing is to help individuals identify and enhance their intrinsic motivation to make positive changes in their lives. It recognizes that individuals often have mixed feelings about change and respects their autonomy to make decisions. Through empathetic and nonjudgmental conversations, therapists guide clients to explore their motivations, values, and goals, helping them resolve their internal conflicts and build self-efficacy.

Trained mental health professionals, therapists, counselors, and clinicians conduct motivational interviewing sessions. They create a safe and supportive environment, using open-ended questions, reflective listening, and affirmation techniques to elicit and reinforce the client’s reasons for change. This approach is effective in addressing a range of behavioral changes, including substance abuse, unhealthy habits, and other lifestyle modifications.

What Are The Principles of Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based practice that can build strong, trustworthy relationships between a client and their therapist. This is because clinicians trained in motivational interviewing utilize a form of communication that centers around the principles of respect and empathy. 

More specifically, the four principles of motivational interviewing include: 

By incorporating the principles of MI in therapy, clinicians can help you understand your needs, values, and potential solutions. Therapists trained in motivational interviewing can encourage genuine change in their clients by helping them to preserve through life’s challenges with determination and resilience. As a result, MI assists you in building strength and confidence to tackle any obstacle, no matter how big or small. 

It can help both individuals and groups foster self-motivation and develop new perspectives. MI techniques also establish a safe space and pace to explore and define personal values and goals with the guidance of mental health professionals. 

What Does Motivational Interviewing Treat?

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a versatile therapeutic approach that can be effective in addressing various mental health disorders by promoting positive behavior change and enhancing motivation. Some of the mental health disorders that can be treated using motivational interviewing include:

Motivational interviewing can be integrated into the treatment of depression by helping individuals find motivation to engage in activities that please them and improve their mood. It focuses on setting achievable goals and increasing a sense of self-efficacy.

MI can assist individuals in managing anxiety by exploring their motivations for change, helping them develop coping strategies, and building their confidence to confront and manage anxiety-inducing situations.

For individuals with bipolar disorder, MI can support the development of a treatment plan that aligns with their personal goals and preferences. It can help enhance medication adherence and promote self-management strategies.

Motivational interviewing can assist individuals in managing symptoms of PTSD by exploring their readiness for change, building coping skills, and increasing their motivation to engage in therapeutic interventions.

MI can be used to address eating disorders by encouraging individuals to examine thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to food and body image. It helps them develop a healthier relationship with food and body image.

MI is commonly used in treating substance abuse and addiction. It helps individuals explore their ambivalence about substance use, identify the pros and cons of change, and increase their motivation to seek treatment or reduce substance consumption.

It’s important to note that motivational interviewing is a complementary approach to other evidence-based treatments. MI creates a collaborative and empathetic therapeutic environment that encourages individuals to explore their motivations for change. This helps clients work to achieve their treatment goals and improve their overall well-being.

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What Happens During Motivational Interviewing?

During a motivational interviewing (MI) session, the therapist employs a collaborative and client-centered approach to help individuals explore their motivations, ambivalence, and desires for change.

Motivational Interviewing Approach

Engagement and Building Rapport

The therapist begins by creating a warm and non-judgmental environment. They establish rapport and build trust with the individual, ensuring a safe space for open conversation.


The therapist gently guides the individual to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the targeted issue. This could involve exploring their goals, concerns, and current state of readiness for change.

Exploration of Ambivalence

The therapist helps the individual recognize any conflicting feelings they may have about making a change. They discuss the pros and cons of staying the same versus making a change, allowing the individual to openly express their inner struggles.

Eliciting Self-Motivational Statements

During the desensitization phase, your therapist will ask you to focus on a traumatic memory while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or audio tones. These evidence-based procedures help the brain relax as your therapist helps you process and release negative associations with the memory.

Supportive Reflection

During the installation phase, your therapist will help you explore and better understand the positive emotions associated with the traumatic memory. This helps your brain create new, healthier pathways for responding to similar experiences in the future.

Developing a Change Plan

The body scan phase involves a brief period of relaxation that helps reintegrate any residual disruption within the nervous system. To help you relax, your therapist will ask you to focus on the sensations in different parts of your body and observe them without judging or reacting. With the help of therapeutic guidance, you will notice and process any residual physical tension or sensations related to the memory. Body scanning practices help you reconnect with your bodily sensations, which may go numb after exposure to trauma. It also helps to reduce feelings of anxiety and tension that remain in the body following a traumatic experience.

Emphasis on Autonomy

At the end of each EMDR therapy session, your therapist ensures that you are stable and calm. This step also involves helping you fully process and integrate your experiences during the session. Reflective questions, relaxation techniques, or imagery exercises help you find closure by recognizing how far you have come in your healing journey. Your therapist will also discuss strategies for managing triggers and stressors so that you can continue to work on recovery from a safe place.

Affirmation and Positive Reinforcement

In subsequent sessions, your therapist assesses progress and addresses any remaining distressing memories. The revaluation step is an opportunity to gain insight into the experience and reframe it in a way that is more conducive to your emotional healing. Your therapist will also continue to monitor any changes in symptoms and behaviors and present new approaches or techniques if you need additional support.

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Finding A Motivational Interviewing Therapist

When seeking a therapist who specializes in motivational interviewing (MI), certain considerations can guide your selection process to ensure effective and successful treatment. Look for the following qualities and attributes in a therapist who uses MI as part of their treatment approach:

Ensure that the therapist has formal training and experience in motivational interviewing. They should possess a deep understanding of MI techniques, principles, and strategies to facilitate meaningful conversations and evoke motivation for change.

Ensure the therapist holds appropriate licensure and credentials in their field. These credentials validate their competence and expertise in practicing motivational interviewing.

A skilled MI therapist collaborates with you rather than directing the session. They foster a non-confrontational and respectful atmosphere, allowing you to express your thoughts and concerns freely.

Effective MI therapists possess exceptional active listening skills. They attentively listen to your words, tone, and emotions, reflecting your thoughts to demonstrate understanding and empathy.

Look for a therapist who employs open-ended questions to encourage you to explore your feelings, thoughts, and motivations in depth. These questions prompt meaningful conversations and help you delve into your ambivalence and aspirations for change.

A competent MI therapist uses reflective listening techniques to echo your statements and emotions. This validates your experiences and allows you to gain insights into your motivations.

A therapist who aligns with the principles of MI takes a person-centered approach, valuing your autonomy and perspectives. They support your self-directed choices and decision-making.

Look for a therapist who exhibits high levels of empathy and non-judgment. They create a safe space where you can openly share your concerns without fear of criticism.

An effective MI therapist helps you establish realistic and meaningful goals for change. They work collaboratively with you to develop strategies and action plans to achieve these objectives.

A reputable MI therapist integrates evidence-based practices into their treatment. They stay informed about the latest research and developments in MI to provide you with the most effective strategies.

Selecting a therapist who embodies these qualities ensures a positive therapeutic experience and enhances the potential for successful outcomes through the use of motivational interviewing techniques.

Motivational as a Tool For Change

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, our therapists take the time to understand your personal history and any potential triggers that may contribute to your mental health concerns. During our outpatient mental health programs, our therapists prioritize creating a safe space for you to openly discuss difficult topics as well as help you create achievable goals for therapy and life.

Our MI therapists can also offer guidance on honing your self-awareness and rebuilding your self-worth, inner motivation, and resilience. To help you heal and grow in therapy, our team of mental health professionals will provide you with a range of therapeutic tools and coping skills to help you manage your mental health concerns, as well as any potential stressors that may arise in the future.

Comprehensive Mental Health Services

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health in New Jersey, our team of compassionate clinicians provides you with motivational interviewing techniques while fostering a secure and non-judgmental environment. During our outpatient mental health treatment programs, you can safely explore and process your emotions, thoughts, and experiences. By incorporating motivational interviewing into our therapy services, we help you become more self-aware and develop the skills needed to make positive changes in your life.

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Motivational Interviewing at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health

Motivational interviewing has gained widespread recognition for its efficacy in promoting sustainable behavioral changes and empowering individuals to take ownership of their decisions. It is particularly valuable in the context of addiction treatment, healthcare, and mental health settings, where collaboration and client empowerment are essential for achieving positive outcomes.

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, motivational interviewing (MI) is a fundamental component of our comprehensive treatment approach. When seeking treatment with us, you can receive compassionate, person-centered care in our collaborative treatment environment. For this reason, our skilled and experienced clinicians take the time to learn about your specific needs to create a unique treatment plan during our mental health programs.

Each of our experienced therapists employs MI techniques to foster meaningful conversations, evoke motivation for change, and support your mental health journey during our levels of care including:

Our treatment programs encompass a range of levels of care including intensive outpatient program (IOP) and outpatient program (OP). Whether you’re looking for intensive support or ongoing guidance, our tailored programs cater to your specific needs. MI is seamlessly integrated into our therapeutic strategies across all levels of care, ensuring that you receive personalized and effective treatment.

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, our commitment to motivational interviewing reflects our dedication to your growth and well-being as you navigate the path to healing. Contact us today by calling 888-501-7998 to learn more about our mental health treatment programs in New Jersey. 

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