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Motivational Interviews: How They Help With Depression and Stroke

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Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene defined motivational interviewing as “a directive, client-centered counseling style of eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence.” A mental health professional conducting motivational interviewing uses several different strategies to evoke behavioral changes in the patient. For example, the mental health professional may use open-ended questions, reflective listening, decision balancing and affirmations.

The study published in Stroke included 411 patients who were on a stroke unit, with more than half of the participants being men. Half of the participants were assigned to the motivational interviewing intervention, in which they received therapy with either a nurse or an individual with a psychology degree. The participants in this intervention attended 4 sessions that lasted 30 to 60 minutes; the therapy began two to four weeks after they had had the stroke. Assessment of mood was done before the intervention and again at 12 months. The press release from the American Heart Association reported that after one year, 48 percent of the participants in the motivational interviewing group had a normal mood, compared to 37.7 percent of participants who did not receive any therapy. The researchers also looked at the death rate of participants: 6.5 percent of participants in the intervention passed away, compared to 12.8 percent in the non-therapy group; they did not investigate what the cause of death was in each patient who passed away.


National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Post-Stroke Rehabilitation Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health, 2011. Web. 13 July 2011

U.S Department of Health and Human Services. A Brief Behavioral Intervention Can Reduce Depression in Stroke Survivors. NIH News, 6 August 2009. Web. 13 July 2011.

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Motivational Interviewing. State of Maryland. Web. 13 July 2011

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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