Therapist influence on client language during motivational interviewing sessions

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2006 Apr;30(3):245-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2005.12.003.


Client language in favor of change is hypothesized to be a causal mechanism for motivational interviewing (MI), and specific therapist behaviors are prescribed to elicit such speech. This project examined 38 motivational enhancement therapy sessions from Project MATCH (Matching Alcoholism Treatments to Client Heterogeneity), using a sequential behavioral coding system to investigate the relationship between therapist behaviors and client speech. Conditional probabilities were calculated between MI-consistent (MICO) therapist behaviors, MI-inconsistent (MIIN) therapist behaviors, and immediately subsequent client speech. MICO behaviors were more likely to be followed by self-motivational statements, whereas MIIN behaviors were more likely to be followed by client resistance. These results lend support to the importance of therapist behaviors in shaping client speech during MI sessions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior
  • Counseling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological*
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*