Strengths-based Practice and Motivational Interviewing

  • Trevor Jay Manthey University of Kansas
  • Bryan Knowles University of Kansas
  • Dianne Asher University of Kansas
  • Stephanie Wahab Portland State University
Keywords: Strengths, strengths-based practice, intervention, motivation, motivational interviewing


There has been recent concern that many practices and programs erroneously claim to be strengths-based. In reaction some have called for researchers to make systematic comparisons to the tenets of strengths-based practice (SBP) before making the contention that an intervention is strengths-based. Motivational interviewing (MI) is an intervention which has been described as being strengths-based; however, no systematic efforts have yet been made to compare the two. This article takes a methodical approach to comparing SBP and MI to determine level of cohesion and how they might be used together. A case-example is used to illustrate how MI and SBP may be used in conjunction and implications for social work practice and education are discussed.