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Motivational Interviewing in Career Counseling and Employment by Mary Beth Abella, MSW

The use of MI in Career Counseling is becoming widespread as more and more Career Counselors and Employment Specialists find that MI is a powerful tool for helping people overcome barriers to employment. In fact, the National Career Development Association has published several articles on the use of Motivational Interviewing in Career Counseling, and Income Assistance agencies in different countries around the world are implementing MI to assist their most employment challenged clients. (See "Incorporating Motivational Interviewing Into Career Counseling" and "Motivating long-term social assistance recipients towards employment.")

I've counseled hundreds of people about their careers using Motivational Interviewing. It can be very helpful in motivating people toward their goals of financial stability, for example, and for people who are truly "stuck" and unable to make career decisions. In addition, it can be a useful tool for assisting people in overcoming very real challenges to employment, such as housing issues, mental health issues, substance use, and other barriers.

People who have been unemployed for a long period of time often lack the confidence they need to successfully look for work. Motivational Interviewing is a compassionate approach that takes into consideration the valid challenges people face and helps them build the confidence they need to take action toward their goals.

For more information on using Motivational Interviewing in career or employment counseling, please email us at info @

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