Motivational Interviewing:
More Than Chit Chat

What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a therapeutic approach that’s all about helping you make positive changes in your life. MI tells us, “I am in control” and empowers us to take ownership of our decisions to have a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Motivational Interviewing: A Man Stares Through His Fists

The 101 of Motivational interviewing

1. Empathy:

MI therapists actively listen to you and reflect back what you say. E.g., take someone who uploads to their socials daily and is looking to reduce screen time. Your therapist would validate you: “hey it sounds like you want to reduce screen time and connect more with the real world but are struggling to put your phone down. That must be pretty frustrating”.

2. Collaboration

MI therapists work with you to acheive your goals – in this case, you want to reduce your screen time. Your therapist might ask “what are some changes you’ve already thought of to reduce your scroll time?” and together you’ll create a plan that feels:

a) manageable
b) meaningful
c) motivating for you

3. Autonomy:

In MI, you’re in charge and finding purpose in life is your personal journey. Your therapist won’t tell you what to do but will help you explore your behaviours. E.g., your therapist may ask “what makes you think you should reduce your screen time?”

4. Evoking Change Talk

Your therapist encourages you to express your own reasons for change. E.g., they might ask “do you see any benefits in having a social media break?”

5. Rolling with Resistance

Don’t count on your therapist to try to convince you to change. Instead, know that they will seek to understand and explore why you’re feeling stuck. E.g., you’re hesitant to cut down on the socials. Your therapist might ask, “what are some reasons you might be feeling so unsure about taking time off screen?”

The Benefits of Motivational Interviewing in Therapy

1. Increases motivation: (Who’da thunkit..) MI is client centered to help you identify motivations for positive change.

2. Builds trust: MI builds trust between you and your therapist through emapthy and collaboration.

3. Increases self-efficacy: MI helps you beleive in yourself and feel more capable to find meaning in life.

4. Reduces resistance: MI is non-confrontational – if you’re hesitant to make a change, your therapist won’t fight you on this. Instead, they will explore the underlying why and allow you to make your own decisions – in your own time.

5. Improves treatment outcomes: The above points form a winning combo – increasing the likelihood of sustained positive change in your life.

How Motivational Interviewing Can Help with Addiction

Let’s be real, addiction can dominate a person’s life, leaving them with little to no sense of control over their actions. MI is crucial in treating addiction because it addresses the mixed feelings people often have about change. You may want to stop using, but also, feel like you can’t live life without substances.

Motivational Interviewing therapists will explore your desire to change and the concerns you have about making that change. They’ll help you express these conflicting feelings, and will work with you to create a plan to reduce your substance use, e.g., you may attend support groups.

MI can also help in addiction treatment through the therapeutic relationship, increasing your investment in the treatment process and likelihood of following through with your goals.

Motivational Interviewing: How It Works

Let’s walk through a typical Motivational Interviewing session:

Step 1. Rapport building: Your therapist will use open-ended questions, reflective listening, and empathy to build a strong relationship with you. This is also a cool opportunity for you to get to know your therapist too.

Step 2. Assessing readiness for change: Your therapist will explore your motivation and commitment to making a change. They will ask questions about your goals, values, and how your current behaviour impacts your life. Ps. here’s where we need to be honest about our mental health concerns, remember your therapist is here to support you.

Step 3. Change talk: A more in-depth exploration of your reasons for change happens here. Your therapist will ask questions that explore the benefits and drawbacks of changing your behaviour.

Step 4. Resolving ambivalence: hesitation is a normal part of the change process, and your therapist knows this. They will explore the pros and cons of changing and not changing, helping you to identify your values and goals.

Step 5. Planning and commitment: once you’re ready to make a change, your therapist will work with you to create a plan of action. You” identify specific goals and develop strategies to overcome any barriers to change.

Step 6. Ongoing support: Staying motivated is an ongoing process. Your therapist will provide ongoing support to help you maintain your commitment to change. They will check in with you, celebrate your successes, and help you problem-solve challenges that come up.

An image of a dimly lit boxing training room

Find A Therapist Who Works with MI

Here at The Indigo Project, we have a number of online therapists qualified in Motivational Interviewing.

If you’d like to find someone specifically matched to your needs, head over to our Get Matched quiz and we’ll find the right therapist for you.


Meet Our Therapists


ayanthi de silva, Registered Psychologist


bre elder, Senior Psychologist


nekiyah dharshi, Registered Psychologist


dr navit gohar-kadar, Clinical Psychologist


maja czerniawska, Senior Psychologist


eunice cheung, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


annia baron, Clinical Psychologist


tayla gardner, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


katie odonoghue, Relationship Coach & Couples Therapist


lorna macaulay, Senior Psychologist


shuktika bose, Clinical Psychologist


deepika gupta, Clinical Psychologist


dr emer mcdermott, Clinical Psychologist


nicole burling, Senior Psychologist


natasha kasselis, Senior Psychologist


dr perry morrison, Senior Psychologist


gaynor connor, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


shauntelle benjamin, Registered Psychologist


liz kirby, Psychotherapist & Counsellor


sam barr, Clinical Psychologist


darren everett, Senior Psychologist


jamie de bruyn, Senior Psychologist


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is The Indigo Project?

We are a progressive online counselling practice, providing telehealth services in Australia. Our passionate and experienced local team includes psychologists, psychotherapists & counsellors, coaches and therapists that are trained to deliver online therapy to you in a safe and convenient way.

Whether you are looking for short or long term support through a challenging time, or looking to discover your potential, we want you to feel comfortable on every step of the journey.

Read more about Our Story 

Telehealth: About Therapy and Online Counselling

What can I expect from therapy? What is therapy like?

Every therapist is different and their therapeutic style and personalities are all unique. However, all of our Indigo practitioners will hold a compassionate and non-judgmental space for you, where you are free to be who you are. Your therapist is there to listen to you, guide you, and help you overcome life’s challenges.

Generally, you’ll spend the first session getting to know each other, talking about your history and what it is you’d like to work through. From your second session onwards, you’ll get to go deeper, peeling back the layers and all the while learning practical strategies to help you transform and grow.

At Indigo we encourage our clients to have at least 10-20 sessions, because we believe that therapy is a long-term journey of commitment, growth and investment in yourself. After seeing your therapist for a while, you may continue to book occasional check-in sessions as you feel more confident doing life with the knowledge and tools you have gained.

Who is online therapy for?

Everyone is welcome to attend online counselling or therapy with one of our practitioners at The Indigo Project.

Online counselling or therapy via Zoom is an accessible, safe and convenient option for those who are unable to attend face-to-face appointments, or simply prefer to meet online. Whether it be a busy schedule due to work and family, health-related reasons or distance, online counselling can help you.

What issues are suited for online therapy?

Our team of trained clinical psychologists, psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors attend to a range of common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss, life transitions, relationship issues and more.

A number of practitioners also specialise in areas such as sexuality, gender and identity, addiction, sports and performance, personality disorders and therapy for children and adolescents.

Several therapists also provide services in marriage counselling and couples therapy.

Finding the best psychologist or counsellor for me - where do I start?

We highly encourage you to view our practitioners and use the filtering options to find a psychologist or counsellor who can help you with the issues you are seeking help for.

Meet our therapists and what they can help you with here.

If you need help, our Therapy Matchmakers team will be able to match you with a practitioner. Give us a call on (02) 9212 5469 or email us at [email protected] so we can support you on your journey.

What if I can’t see the therapist I had in mind?

Our therapists typically have capacity to see several new clients each month. However these openings can get filled up fast from those who have been on a waitlist. If there is someone that you particularly want to see but is currently unavailable, we can place you on a waitlist until there is an opening.

If you prefer to attend an online counselling session sooner, our Therapy Matchmakers can help you find an alternative practitioner based on your needs and what you are looking to achieve in therapy.

Meeting a therapist for the first time can feel like a first date. If you don’t connect with your therapist on your first or second session, we’ll pair you with a new practitioner and your next session will be on the house* as part of our Perfect Match Promise.

*Terms and conditions apply.

Can I make an appointment for my child or dependent?

If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor, you will need to make an appointment online or via the phone.

We have many psychologists, psychotherapists & counsellors who have experience dealing with children and adolescents in therapy. See who can help here.

Someone I know needs counselling. Can I book an appointment for them?

Those who require online counselling or therapy will have to make an appointment directly with The Indigo Project via our online booking form or on the phone. We do not accept bookings on behalf of an individual or couple from a third party unless as part of an insurance plan, support scheme or similar arrangement.

We want marriage or couples counselling. Can we see a couples counsellor together?

Couples are welcome to attend online therapy sessions together with one of our couples therapists.

Do I need to do anything before my first session?

We recommend setting up for your online therapy session 5-10 minutes before it commences. Make sure your computer or phone microphone and video is working, and that you are comfortable and ready to sit through your session uninterrupted.

There’s zero pressure to prepare anything for your first session but if you find it helpful, you can jot down some points about specific things you’d like to work on or discuss with your therapist.

Are my therapy sessions confidential?

Everything you discuss with your therapist here at Indigo is absolutely confidential, and will not be shared unless you or someone else is at risk of serious harm.

How do I pay for my online therapy session?

For first time clients, payment is made via debit or credit card at the time of booking. For returning clients, there are a number of payment methods available such as authorised direct debit or online via the payments link on your invoice.

Who to contact if you are in crisis

The Indigo Project is not a crisis service.

  • If you are in a crisis, if you are experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or somebody else is in danger, DO NOT use this service.
  • Call 000 or use these contacts for immediate crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

Lifeline 13 11 14 - A crisis support and suicide prevention service for all Australians.

Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 - The Mental Health Line offers professional help and advice for everyone. Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 - Beyond Blue provide support to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 - A free service for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal, bereaved by suicide or are health professionals supporting people affected by suicide.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 - A counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

Parentline 1300 1300 52 - Parent Line is a free telephone counselling and support service for parents and carers with children aged 0 to 18 who live in NSW.

What else does The Indigo Project do?

Our courses, workshops and events are designed to transform the way you think, feel and live.

Not ready to commit to therapy? Indigo founder Mary Hoang has created Get Your Sh*t Together, a self-directed digital course for those who want to develop greater self-awareness, tackle stress and anxiety, and learn practical skills to help heal, grow and thrive in life.

Mary has also written a book Darkness is Golden: A Guide to Personal Transformation and Dealing with Life's Messiness that combines her experience in the therapy room with unique audio experiences framed by her research in music psychology.

Available for free download are a number of toolkits to help you combat your depression, deal with your anxiety or transform your relationships.

Although an online counselling practice, The Indigo Project believes in the power of community, and we often host events throughout the year. Keep an eye out for events such as Listen Up, a contemporary digital sound bath some describe as a “soundtracked therapy session”.

We are also available for corporate events, workshops and related projects. Please contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to know more.

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