Dr. Naar-King publishes book on motivational interviewing techniques with teens

September 22, 2010

A Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher has used her experience interacting with teens and young adults in health behavior-changing research projects to write a book on how to best interview adolescents for a positive outcome in clinical settings.

Sylvie Naar-King, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Prevention Research Center, is the lead author of “Motivational Interviewing with Adolescents and Young Adults.” She co-wrote the book, published by Guilford Press, with Mariann Suarez, Ph.D., assistant professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the University of South Florida.

The 224-page book includes chapters by WSU School of Medicine faculty members Angulique Outlaw, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Pediatric Prevention Research Center; Monique Green Jones, M.P.H., a research assistant in the Pediatric Prevention Research Center; and Deborah Ellis, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Prevention Research Center.

Dr. Naar-King and her colleagues employ motivational interviewing in a number of research projects aimed at changing behavior among children, teens and their parents in the area of asthma and diabetes treatment regimen and obesity. In fact, the book is dedicated “to the young people and families who allowed us to share in their journey of change.”

The book serves as a guide, spelling out how to use motivational interviewing techniques to produce useful conversations about behavior change with teens and young adults in a clinical setting. In addition to examples, the book contains lists of do’s and don’ts, as well as sample dialogues. The techniques show how to develop a rapport with young patients and enhance their motivation to want to make changes that improve their health, Dr. Naar-King said.

“We wanted to emphasize that motivational interviewing is essentially a conversation about change in which you strategically reinforce another’s motivation to change in the context of a respectful empathic relationship,” she said.

The targeted audience for the book includes clinical psychologists, addiction treatment specialists, social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, pediatricians and other health care providers who treat teens.