Advanced MI

Ep 36 – The Psycholinguistics of MI


Glenn and Sebastian were excited about having Paul Amrhein on the podcast given his historical importance to the development of MI. psycholinguisticsPaul is presently on the faculties of Montclair State University (Professor, Psychology) in New Jersey and Columbia University (Adjunct Associate Professor, Psychiatry) in New York. An experimental psycholinguist by training, he earned his PhD in psychology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. In 1995, as a faculty colleague at the University of New Mexico, Paul began work with Bill Miller on an exploration of the nature and role of client language evoked during MI as a predictor of substance use outcomes. Based on his dissertation work, Paul devised a process model explaining how the valence (sustain or change) and strength (weak or strong) of client commitment expressions, supported by underlying preparatory language, lead to behavioral outcomes. Since then, he has been investigating how factors of therapist training in MI and client learning ability interact to promote or impede change talk and its relationship to subsequent behavior.

0:00 – Opening/introduction

2:05 – Paul’s introduction and MI background

5:25 – The original DARRN-C coding system

9:20 – Category, valence, and strength of change language

21:00 – Double-sided reflections

23:25 – The reflection to question ratio (R:Q)

31:30 – Psycholinguistics beyond substance use conversations: “Talk is talk”

37:00 – Change talk is a construction between the client and the practitioner

44:45 – Connecting what the client says and what the client does

47:10 – How experience affects learning MI

50:25 – Re-entering normalcy, with masks

54:26 – End of recording

Links and contact information:

  • Email:
  • 2003 paper citation:
    • Amrhein, P.C., Miller, W.M., Yahne, C.E., Palmer, M., & Fulcher, L. (2003). Client commitment language during motivational interviewing predicts drug use outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 862-878. DOI: 1037/0022-006X.71.5.862 

For suggestions, questions and to enquire about training in Motivational Interviewing contact Glenn & Sebastian



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