Motivational interviewing refers to a counseling approach developed by clinical psychologists Professor William R Miller, Ph.D. and Professor Stephen Rollnick Ph.D.
It recognizes and accepts the fact clients who need to make changes in their lives approach counseling at different levels of readiness to change their behavior. If the counseling is mandated, they may never have thought of changing the behavior in question.
Some may have thought about it but not taken steps to change it. Others, especially those voluntarily seeking counseling, may be actively trying to change their behavior and may have been doing so unsuccessful for years.
Motivational interviewing is non-judgmental and non-confrontational. The strategy attempts to increase clients' awareness of the potential problems caused, consequences experienced, and risks faced as a result of the behavior in question by means of presenting objective feedback.
The feedback is used to help clients recognize the discrepancies between their goals, where they are in relation to those goals, and how their behavior or actions are impeding the achievement of their goals. The strategy seeks to help clients think differently about their behavior and ultimately to consider what might be gained through change.
When done with individuals, a person receives personalized feedback about the behavior. In groups (e.g., an entire fraternity or sorority), feedback can be given based on data collected from group members prior to a program. Some researchers have used mailed feedback after collecting data on a questionnaire such that no face-to-face interaction actually occurs.