Frequently Asked Questions About The Life-Changing Effects Of Motivational Interviewing

Note: The content below contains some disturbing topics about violence and death.


I had a childhood best friend named Angela. Her family moved next to ours in the suburbs when we were both in first grade. Although we had never met each other before, we instantly bonded over our love for swings in the local park. Almost every afternoon, Angela and I would play there with the other neighbors’ kids and would not come home until our parents had to fetch us. By the time the school year ended, we were already closer than any siblings could be.

Our closeness continued even in middle school. While other elementary friendships dissolved, ours strengthened to the point that we even snuck out to go to parties together. We planned to take turns telling our parents that we would have a sleepover for school projects. They always bought our alibi, considering we were inseparable.

However, on March 13, 2002, I asked her if we should go to Marsha’s party that night, and Angela said that she was feeling under the weather. It was cool for me, so we bid each other bye when we reached our houses. I did not know that it would be the last time I would see my best friend. Ever.


The next morning, my father woke me up by knocking frantically on my door. I looked at my bedside clock and saw that it was not even 5 a.m. Hence, I was scowling when I opened my door, ready to snap at him. But then I froze when Mom and Dad heaved a sigh of relief and hugged me tightly at the same time.

“What’s this? Was I in a coma or just woke up?” I asked, trying to joke.

“No, baby, we were so worried that you snuck out with Angela. We couldn’t take it if you did,” my father said when they let go of me.

My scowl returned. “What are you talking about?” That’s when the flashing lights outside caught my eye, and I peered through my Dad’s side to get a better look. “What’s going on out there?”

My parents looked at each other, seemingly uncomfortable. When neither spoke for five minutes, I pushed past them to find out what’s happening. Mom stopped me by the arm then.

“Baby, Angela’s gone,” my mother uttered slowly. “Her parents came out around 3 a.m. when their dogs started barking like crazy, and they found her barely breathing on the lawn, her clothes ripped to pieces. They called 911, but Angela’s pronounced dead when the ambulance reached the hospital.”

I could do nothing but blink my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. My best friend could not be gone. We both decided not to go to the party because she didn’t feel well. Unless—

“It turned out that Angela left their home to meet her new boyfriend at a party,” Dad supplied. “The autopsy’s still not done, but based on Angela’s state when she was found, it’s highly possible that she was…gang-raped. The authorities were already looking for possible suspects, including her new boyfriend. I’m so sorry, baby.”

My parents hugged me again and told me to go back to bed, but how could I? My best friend was dead. Worse, she was violated and left to die by those monsters. When I heard the sound of a car pulling up at Angela’s house mid-morning, I asked Mom if we could go there to see her parents. As soon as Mrs. Davidson saw me, no words transpired between us – we just sobbed in each other’s arms.



After Angela’s death, I moved to a different school and isolated myself from everyone but my family. The police investigation progressed quickly because many of our schoolmates testified against Angela’s boyfriend and his two friends, who apparently did their heinous crime at Marsha’s garage. Some tried to extend their condolences to me, but I just snapped at them. I was angry at them for not intervening or saving my best friend. Angela might still be alive if any of those kids thought of calling 911.

My parents understood what I was going through and let me be for the most part. However, when we were at the grocery store one time, and I snapped at the elderly cashier for not scanning our purchases fast enough, my parents took the liberty of signing me up for motivational interviewing, saying that my anger started to bleed through other aspects of my life – even the ones unrelated to my best friend’s death.

What is motivational interviewing good for? 

Motivational interviewing is ideal for individuals who need to get motivated to alter their thinking to overcome their conditions. This technique is used to help people overcome addictions and deal with grief or chronic physical illnesses.

What are the 5 principles of motivational interviewing? 

  • Use reflective listening to show empathy.
  • Emphasize how the individual’s behavior makes it challenging for them to achieve their goals.
  • Talk to the person without sounding aggressive or argumentative.
  • Avoid contradicting the person’s words directly.
  • Encourage everyone to be optimistic.

What are the stages of change in motivational interviewing? 

  • Precontemplation Stage: During the first stage, the individual is either unaware or in denial about their issue’s severity. Thus, they most likely have no idea that their behavior needs to change.
  • Contemplation Stage: The person may already realize that something is wrong with their behavior. Still, they have not made a move to alter it and feel better.
  • Preparation Stage: At the third stage, the individual may start weighing the pros and cons of changing their behavior. But they are yet to decide on what to do or where to begin.
  • Action Stage: Once the individual makes any effort – small or big – to improve their lives, it entails that they have reached this stage. They take responsibility for their actions, although they may still need external help.
  • Maintenance Stage: During the fifth stage, the person’s behavior may have improved enough that the mental health professional trusts them to continue their actions without intense supervision. It typically happens after six months at the least.
  • Termination Stage: When the individual reaches the last stage, their problems have been resolved and ready to face other life challenges. After this, some people sign up for various programs to continue improving themselves.

Is motivational interviewing manipulative? 

The idea that motivational interviewing is manipulative is a common concern of many people over the years. In reality, this technique is not meant to be that way. The manipulation only appears if the mental health professional conducts intervention when the person is still not mentally ready to change. However, if they follow the Stages of Change model religiously, it will not be like that.

What is change talk in motivational interviewing? 

Change talk in motivational interviewing refers to a portion of the process in which the mental health professional encourages the individual to disclose why they want to change and what they wish to achieve afterward. Eliciting change talk may motivate the individual further to alter their thoughts and behaviors.

What is the spirit of motivational interviewing? 

The “spirit” of motivational interviewing refers to the core techniques employed to improve interpersonal relationships. It is based on three elements, namely: collaboration (vs. confrontation), evocation (vs. imposition), and autonomy (vs. authority).

What type of therapy is motivational interviewing? 

Motivational interviewing is a client-focused type of therapy that clinical psychologists Stephen Rollnick and William Miller developed. It is used to help individuals alter their behavior and resolve their issues.

What is absolute worth? 

Absolute worth refers to the idea that everyone has the same level of dignity, regardless of their social status, and that we are all trying to figure out our place on Earth.

How do you do absolute value?

You simply need to accept that your dignity and worth are the same as that of even the wealthiest people in the world. The more a person realizes their absolute value, the faster they can achieve their full potential.


Final Thoughts

It still hurts to remember what happened to Angela even almost two decades since her death. However, I eventually learned to accept it as a way of dealing with my anger issues. I found peace because the perpetrators got life sentences with no chances of receiving parole and that my best friend’s in a much better place now.