Motivational Interviewing

Rather than a specific type of psychotherapy, motivational interviewing is a conversation method that creates partnership and trust between a client and their therapist.

How Does Motivational Interviewing Work?

Instead of a type of therapy, motivational interviewing is more of a style. It empowers clients by guiding them through decisions rather than being left alone or having the therapist make choices for them. It works best alongside other therapy methods for those looking to make behavioral changes. Motivational interviewing can supplement other therapies for:

  • Substance Abuse
  • Behavioral Addiction
  • Medication Management
  • General and family counseling

The basic skills of Motivational interviewing get the acronym “OARS,” which stands for Open Questions, Affirmation, Reflections, and Summarizing. OARS guides every exchange between therapist and client. Many have seen these methods enlisted in active listening techniques.

The Pillars of Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing aims to help the client be more receptive to changes. For many, the word “therapy” can be intimidating and invokes the idea of someone they don’t know telling them what they’re doing wrong. Through the OARS techniques, therapists can facilitate conversation rather than conduct an interrogation.

Back-and-forth engagement promotes trust and healing, and motivational interviewing exists in the ethos of compassion and empathy. The therapist and client work to accomplish the dynamic in a specific spirit, with client empowerment as the end goal.


The client and the therapist work together to achieve goals. The therapist acts as a partner of the client during the healing process.


Part of the therapist’s guidance should motivate the client to assess and verbalize their feelings and thoughts. Somewhere within the client is the desire for change.


No matter the client’s past or motivations, the therapist accepts that it is all a part of the client and uses these to help the client move forward.


Not only does the counselor accept the client for all they are, but they also express empathy for their situation and place the client’s well-being above all else.

What We Treat

If you are struggling with your mental health, substance abuse, or both, we are here to help you regain control over your life. Our inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs are designed to treat a wide variety of mental, behavioral, and co-occurring disorders in a comfortable setting.

Mental Health

We diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health disorders, including trauma effects, dual diagnosis, depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and codependency.


Substance use disorders we treat include addiction to alcohol, opiates, fentanyl and prescription opioids, methamphetamine and other stimulants, benzodiazepines, cannabis, and other psychoactive substances.

Other Behavioral Health Concerns

A mental health crisis can be layered and confusing. If you don’t see your disorder listed—or don’t know exactly why you are struggling—reach out to us to see how we can help. We treat each client at Sequoia on a personal level, and we’re ready to help you overcome whatever you may be facing.

Ready to Start Your Healing Journey?

Our experienced, compassionate team is here for you. Reach out to us today by calling us or scheduling a conversation at a time that works for you. All information will be kept private and confidential.

Sun setting behind some mountains.