How Do I Go into Motivational Counseling?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Motivational counselors help clients change specific behaviors.
Motivational counselors help clients change specific behaviors.

Before you can go into motivational counseling, you will first need to meet the requirements to work as a professional counselor in the jurisdiction where you live. These requirements can vary significantly, but typically require you to complete an educational program and supervised internship. You will typically also be required to pass a professional licensing examination as well as a background check. After you complete these requirements, you can seek out additional training in motivational counseling, also known as motivational interviewing, through educators who have been trained to teach this counseling technique.

Motivational counseling or interviewing is a psychotherapeutic technique that counselors can use with clients who need to change specific behaviors. The technique involves empathetic listening along with counselor-directed questioning about a person's need to make changes in behavior and to assist the client in better understanding his or her resistance to change. During motivational counseling, a counselor will work toward encouraging commitment from a client to make appropriate changes. As motivational interviewing is a psychotherapeutic technique, those who offer this service to others may be subject to laws regarding professional mental health licensure.

If you do not already hold a license to practice counseling or psychotherapy, you should begin making preparations to earn this license. In the United States, professional counselors or psychotherapists typically need to earn a graduate degree in a particular mental health or social services field, including counseling, psychology, or social work. Graduate education programs will often include real-world work experience under the supervision of an experienced mental health or social work professional. After completing the degree, you may also need to complete an additional internship. Eventually, you can apply for your professional license, a process that may include taking an extensive examination and undergoing a rigorous background check.

Once you hold your license to practice, you may then wish to explore learning more about motivational counseling techniques. You can begin by seeking out motivational interviewing reading materials both online and in print. Additional training may be available through professional organizations and individual therapists, who may offer workshops and continuing education opportunities that can assist you in developing your skills. If you are in a supervisory relationship, you may also wish to speak to your supervisor about your interest in going into motivational counseling and ask for support in working on your skills. Finally, you may decide to work in an addictions center or with clients with addiction issues, as a significant amount of motivational counseling research and practice has focused on those who have substance abuse problems.

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    • Motivational counselors help clients change specific behaviors.
      By: Alexander Raths
      Motivational counselors help clients change specific behaviors.