College students face many emotional challenges. Young adulthood is a period of time during which adolescents begin to find themselves and carve out their own identities. It is also a time of great exploration and experimentation. Young adults enter into romantic relationships for the first time at college and many experience traumatic events, abuse, or violence.
Problems with peers, drugs, alcohol, and academics are just some of the issues that college students face every day. Fortunately, counseling services are available on college campuses to help students. Unfortunately, many students who begin counseling drop out before they receive the help they need. Therefore, it is imperative that new methods of retention be explored.
Tabitha L. Young of the Leadership and Counselor Education Department at the University of Mississippi wanted to see if motivational interviewing (MI), a rather new and untapped therapeutic approach could improve adherence among college students. The existing data on MI is limited, but what is available has shown that MI can be quite successful at changing behaviors in addicted individual and also in those with anxiety and depression.
MI teaches counselors how to implement empathy, to identify discrepancies in clients’ narratives, roll with resistance from clients, and act as allies on the journey of healing. To determine how well MI would work on nonaddicted students, Young enrolled 79 students receiving counseling on campus to either traditional treatment or MI with treatment.
She found that although the symptom outcomes were similarly positive for both groups, adherence rates were much higher in the MI group. This finding reveals two significant results. First, students who receive MI have a better chance at staying in treatment and getting the maximum benefit from it. Second, MI did not take away from the benefits of traditional treatment, but rather enlarged the opportunity for traditional methods and treatment strategies to take root and grow.
“Therefore,” added Young, “Practitioners can use MI to increase client attendance while providing, at the very least, the same level of care and client satisfaction.” These results provide concrete evidence that MI can be used effectively to improve student adherence to counseling, but should be tested on larger samples and on students with a variety of mental health issues.
Young, Tabitha L., Daniel Gutierrez, and W. B. Hagedorn. (2013). Does motivational interviewing (MI) work with nonaddicted clients? A controlled study measuring the effects of a brief training in MI on client outcomes. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD 91.3 (2013): 313-20. ProQuest. Web.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.