MI/CBT brings together the wisdom of two of the most important current evidence-based strategies of behavior change: Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

MI provides a way of having helpful conversations with people about the whys of change: Why should I exercise, manage my cholesterol, study for exams, follow my coach’s advice, take my medications, seek out new friends, move towards rather than away from things that I fear, or curb my use of cannabis, nicotine, or Red Bull? MI helps people discover the answers to these questions by looking inward, to their core values and deeply held beliefs, and by looking outward, to their future goals. And this is completed in a collaborative, supportive, shared-decision-making environment where the MI practitioner serves more as a guide than as a teacher or director.

If MI addresses the “whys” of change, CBT addresses the “hows” of change: How do we go about changing the deeply held habits of life, those “turn key” ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and behaving, that define our personalities, our characters, and our habitual ways of behaving during stressful, challenging, and perhaps joyful occasions? Through CBT, we collaboratively define targets of change and move towards these using scientifically validated strategies and principles, including exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral self-control therapy, and parent child interaction therapy, to name but a few. CBT strategies of brief decision-making, cognitive correction, and behavioral rehearsal have proven to be effective means of enhancing sports performance across a wide spectrum of competitive activities.

The point of MI/CBT is that neither MI nor CBT, when delivered alone, quite does the job. Addressing the hows without first (and in an ongoing manner) addressing the “whys” leaves the client feeling pushed or muscled into change and the practitioner wondering what’s going wrong. Addressing the whys without also focusing on the hows often leaves the client ready to change but without the tools for change. MI/CBT brings together all of the strategies necessary for the initiation and maintenance of life-changing behavioral and emotional change.

Dr. Rose employs MI/CBT strategies in all of his work. If you want to learn more about MI/CBT, please go to the Institute for Motivation and Change website, www.miinstitute.com.