Motivational Interviewing & Life Coaching for Therapists

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

As clients present with great diversity and a multitude of unique cultural, sociological, and socioeconomic backgrounds, life coaching in the therapeutic relationship allows the therapist to move beyond the typical psychological parameters (dis-ease based) that bring a client into the office, and explore the client’s life in a more holistic way. The therapist can then arm the client with skills to improve any area of his/her life including weight loss and exercise goals, life balance, and nutrition. Additionally, through life coaching the therapist introduces the three key components of motivation and demonstrates for the client how to use these skills in a simple, effective way to achieve his/her goals.

Life Coaching and the use of Motivational Interviewing is a non-confrontational, client-centered method for eliciting behavioral change through resolution of ambivalence and the use of intrinsic motivation. Developed in part by clinical psychologists William Miller, Ph.D. and Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D, Motivational Interviewing was first used with those with addiction issues, and is now used for a wide variety of issues. Motivational interviewing incorporates four basic therapeutic skills: the use of open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summative statements to the client.

Online CE Courses on Coaching & Motivational Interviewing:

Motivational Interviewing: Foundations for Change

Performance Psychology

Did you know?

  • Life coaching gives the therapist a way to assess and treat the client on a global scale, incorporating wellness into the therapeutic practice.
  • Motivational Interviewing provides direct skills to harness and direct motivation — moving the therapist into a much more effective role with the client.
  • According to National Institutes of Health, 38% of people are seeking “alternative” forms of care, and motivational interviewing falls into this category.
  • The desire to lose weight fuels a multi-billion dollar industry, and through life coaching the therapist can incorporate weight loss into his/her practice.
  • Motivational Interviewing also facilitates the use of client autonomy to increase the client’s desire to assume personal responsibility and achieve his/her goals.
  • Motivational Interviewing helps clients identify their own unique skills that can be used to accomplish goals.


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