Mindfulness and motivational interviewing: two candidate methods for promoting self-management

Chron Respir Dis. 2013 Aug;10(3):175-82. doi: 10.1177/1479972313497372.


There is no conclusive evidence about the way to a promote behavior change in self-management programs for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The latter is a significant knowledge gap as there is a need to promote a sustained effect in interventions like Pulmonary Rehabilitation or Supporting Programs. Embracing patient's values seems to be a key ingredient to ignite genuine motivation for behavior change. This manuscript describes two pilot qualitative studies carried out in patients with severe COPD aimed to engage the patient inner experience and promote self-management: a trial testing motivational interviewing (MI) as one style of helping patients with severe COPD make changes in their behavior and second a trial testing a mindfulness-based intervention. The MI study consisted of a 3-month program of weekly coaching phone calls after one face-to-face visit. The following themes were outstanding: patients value the supportive communication with coach and believe the MI-based coaching created increased level of awareness and accountability. They perceived an increase in physical activity and reported "feeling better" or other benefits not directly related to exercise. The Mindfulness for Health Program was a mandatory 8-week program that consisted on 2-hour classes aimed to cultivate nonjudgmental attention in the moment (through different meditative practices and sharing) plus monthly face-to-face encounters aimed to sustain practice and sharing of life experiences for 1 year. The following themes (at 1 year) were outstanding: appreciating life by seeing hardships as opportunities, valuing the self through compassion and awareness, cultivating connectedness with others, acquiring joy, and adopting healthy behaviors. In the search for the "holy grail" for self-management programs that can promote a behavior change, mindfulness and MI seem promising for cultivating a way to live a life in which people are fully present and consciously agree with.

Keywords: COPD; Pulmonary Rehabilitation; behavior change; chronic disease management; mindfulness; motivational interviewing; self management.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Motivation
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Self Care*
  • Self Concept