Book Review: Motivational Interviewing for Health Care Professionals: A Sensible Approach

By | 2nd August 2021

Motivational Interviewing for Health Care Professionals: A Sensible Approach (2nd Edition).

Berger, Bruce A. and Villaume, William A. Washington, DC: American Pharmacists Association, 2019.
280 pages, $42.11 CAD
ISBN: 978-1582123219

Review by Danielle Charron, MC, RPsych, Concordia University of Edmonton 


In Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Professionals: A Sensible Approach (2nd Edition), authors Bruce Berger and William “Bill” Villaume (both emeritus professors at Auburn University) propose a new theoretical explanation of Motivational Interviewing (MI). Healthcare professionals of different disciplines are provided with fundamental skills and knowledge to support patients in making health behaviour changes, ultimately supporting the shift towards person-centred care in our health system. Readers are introduced to the content with a simple question: “Why another book on motivational interviewing?”.

Berger and Villaume’s fresh take on MI and the importance of patient-centred care highlights the possibly of and movement toward an empathetic and truly understanding health care system. The book focuses on the application of MI to health behaviour change from a North American perspective. This viewpoint makes the examples and dialogues provided highly digestible for professionals in both the United States and Canada. Even though the book is meant to speak to a general healthcare provider audience, the heavy focus on pharmacists made the book less palatable for this writer.

The logical organization and flow of the book’s content moves smoothly from theory to practice, providing readers with the foundational knowledge of the MI intervention. This gradual learning is at a pace that keeps the readers comfortable and confident in exploring MI. Each chapter references the last, gently reminding readers of previously learned information. The authors try to keep the bulk of the material as far-reaching as they can, however the examples and dialogues are focused on pharmacists, nurses, and physicians. Questions for reflection neatly wrap up the chapters’ content, prompting readers to reflect not only on the information they just received, but to have discussions with others and apply their newly acquired knowledge.

The authors briefly mention care teams as a significant support to those in residential care. However, any hope of addressing interprofessional care in future chapters is quickly dashed. The book is written for those professionals who find themselves siloed and operating independently from others involved in a patient’s care. This writer hoped that interprofessional care would be addressed, bringing multiple disciplines together to understand how an MI approach could be of benefit to one another. Nonetheless, the book refers very often to an important team member – the patient. Berger and Villaume remind readers that the patient is an integral part of the care team, bringing their own experience and wisdom to their health decisions.

This writer found Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Professionals: A Sensible Approach (2nd Edition) to be an engaging and compassionate resource for any healthcare professional. The authors note they hope their book can shift healthcare from a hierarchical provider-centred approach to a patient-provider team that values one another’s expertise. With this book available, there is no doubt that they will achieve this goal.