I've found lots of info on motivational interviewing for strengthening a person's own motivation and commitment to change, but I'm wondering if this technique has been adapted to help people who won't or can't get to a counselor or therapist.

Is a therapist required to administer the interviews? Has anyone used the technique without having therapist appointments, e.g., could an interactive website provide similar guidance?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've created a list of online resources that might be worth checking into. Could be interesting to ask the people who run them. I don't see why an appointment would be required, though one might expect a different standard of service working in-person with a professional of course. Differences might include legal rights and protections as well. $\endgroup$ Jun 4, 2014 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


Performance reviews (Cardon & Stevens, 2004; Posthuma & Campion, 2008) are part of running an effective business. Are your employees performing at their best? If not, why is that?

A performance review is a formal assessment in which a manager evaluates an employee’s work performance, identifies strengths and weaknesses, offers feedback, and sets goals for future performance.

Motivational interviewing can be part of the performance review process when setting SMART targets and goals, (more on that in a moment) and you don't necessarily need a trained psychotherapist for that. Although guidance from any Human Resources teams you may have will be beneficial. Aside from that, if the motivational issues involve physical disabilities or psychological issues, you do need the professional help of trained doctors and/or therapists.

The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound (Bjerke & Renger, 2017; Reeves & Fuller, 2018).

Smart Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound
Set real numbers with real deadlines Make sure your goal is trackable Work towards setting and evaluating goals and targets which are challenging but possible Be honest. You know what you and your team are actually capable of Give a realistic and achievable deadline
Don't just say "I want more out of you" Don't just hide behind buzzwords and jargon Don't try to do everything in one day Don't forget the hurdles which may need to be addressed Don't keep pushing for a goal you might achieve someday

When you as a manager are evaluating your employee on their performance, a good manager will not just look at the employee. But, they will also look at workplace — the ergonomics of the workplace, the resources available to them and any possible hidden issues. There may be personal issues your employee is facing (physical disabilities, psychological problems etc.).

When looking at the realistic element of the SMART target(s), everything needs evaluating together to form the list of targets. If the employee's personal issues need professional help, then maybe booking sessions with a workplace or external psychotherapist and/or doctor will need to be put down as one of the targets with a realistic set of deadlines.

If they are already seeing a psychotherapist or doctor, and you have the prerequisite permissions, maybe you can discuss the progress (without knowing the finer details) of the therapy and doctor treatment, along with any projected time-frames for realistic achievements.


Bjerke, M. B., & Renger, R. (2017). Being smart about writing SMART objectives. Evaluation and program planning, 61, 125-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.12.009

Cardon, M. S., & Stevens, C. E. (2004). Managing human resources in small organizations: What do we know?. Human resource management review, 14(3), 295-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2004.06.001

Posthuma, R. A., & Campion, M. A. (2008). Twenty best practices for just employee performance reviews: employers can use a model to achieve performance reviews that increase employee satisfaction, reduce the likelihood of litigation and boost motivation. Compensation & Benefits Review, 40(1), 47-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886368707312139

Reeves, M., & Fuller, J. (2018). When SMART goals are not so smart. MIT Sloan Management Review, 59(4), 1-5. https://www.proquest.com/openview/55e33fb984c921676bc765312e23c42e/1


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.