There’s good reason to believe that an important factor in the success of an MI interview is the extent to which the interviewer is able to facilitate a partnership-style relationship between helper and client. The opposite approach is sometimes referred to as the expert model – where the interviewer does not involve her client in decisions and does not invite the client to actively participate in influencing ideas and discussion during the interview.

In a partnership-based service, the helper acknowledges that the client is the “expert” on him/her self and invites the client to contribute to perspectives having to do with what might be helpful (and unhelpful) in pursuing the targeted change. An important aspect of empowering change involves learning how to create a spirit of genuine partnership in the motivational interviewing conversation. The “broad strokes” scores for this aspect of MI are provided below)

PARTNERSHIP: (for more information on this important element of good MI practice, please refer to

                              LOW FIDELITY                                                                                                              HIGH FIDELITY






Clinician actively assumes the expert role for the majority of the interaction with the client. Collaboration or partnership is absent Clinician superficially responds to opportunities to collaborate. Clinician incorporates client’s contributions but does so in a lukewarm or erratic fashion. Clinician fosters collaboration and power sharing so that client’s contributions impact the session in ways that they otherwise would not. Clinician actively fosters and encourages power sharing in the interaction in such a way that client’s contributions substantially influence the nature of the session.

This scale is intended to measure the extent to which the clinician conveys an understanding that expertise and wisdom about change reside mostly within the client. Clinicians high on this scale behave as if the interview is occurring between two equal partners, both of whom have knowledge that might be useful in solving the change under consideration. Clinicians low on the scale assume the expert role for a majority of the interaction and have a high degree of influence in the nature of the interaction.