ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (2): 261-269.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00261

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Client Motivation: An Integration of Theory and Practice in Counseling and Psychotherapy

LIU Chen-Ling; WANG Yun   

  1. (Institute of Applied Psychology, Geoscience of China University, Wuhan 430074, China)
  • Received:2015-05-18 Online:2016-02-15 Published:2016-02-15
  • Contact: 刘陈陵, E-mail:


Client motivation is key for behavior change and treatment result. It is also critical in the process of counseling and psychotherapy. Self-determination theory (SDT), a broad theory of motivated behavior, defines client motivation using a taxonomy along a relative-autonomy continuum.The more clients present autonomous motivation, treatment outcome is more effective.It addresses that therapist’s autonomy support is critical to clients’ active engagement and adherence in change. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an another popular clinic technology and strategy in health contexts, initially used to treat addictions. For it can follow the person-centered guiding to elicit and strengthen client motivation to change. Although there are different starting points, foci and developmental processes between them, the potential for systematic integration between both approaches was found to enhance evidence-based practice. Recently client motivation has received increasing attention across counseling approaches.

Key words: client motivation, self-determination theory, motivational interviewing, autonomy, autonomy support