Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to create motivation in the addicted gamer?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) offers a new perspective on what the role of the mental health professional is in the mysterious, perplexing, and often frustrating process of instilling motivation in video game addicts.  Failure to “inspire” gaming addicts to reach their goals, despite our best coaching and cheerleading efforts, has been a significant contributor to the conclusion that gaming addicts cannot be helped.  

Psychologists William Miller and Stephen Rollnick (1991) have conceptualized lack of motivation as the experience of being “stuck” in ambivalence. They developed a counseling style that elicits behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve this ambivalence. This style is similar to the client-centered, humanistic approach developed by Carl Rogers and others; however, it is notably more directive, and can demonstrate results in a relatively short period of time.

The concept of MI originally evolved from William Miller’s experiences with the treatment of problem drinkers.  Since then, however, MI has been applied to much broader settings. It operates from the premise that ambivalence is a normal state that affects many areas of one’s life. MI uses a set of skills and principles that guide the client and counselor through the process of resolving ambivalence (Miller and Rollnick, 1991). 

In my next blog I will begin to explain how MI works as well as why MI is effective with gaming addicts.

Christopher Mulligan LCSW