Motivational Interviewing for Deradicalization: Increasing the Readiness to Change


  • Michael Clark Center for Strength-Based Strategies


Countering Violent Extremism, Deradicalization, Motivational Interviewing, extremism, evidence based practice, direct practice


This article focuses on direct practice for deradicalization programming. Considering the progression of research to practice, there is a lack of recommendations from existing deradicalization research to inform those engaged in actual service delivery with extremists. Those engaged in one-to-one efforts or group modalities need strategies and techniques to better structure and standardize their efforts. This article suggests motivational interviewing (MI) as one evidence-based practice and well-researched approach that could be applied for countering violent extremism (CVE) work. Motivational interviewing is an approach that is particularly useful when the goal is observable behavior change. It is favored for those who are ambivalent to change as well those who are more resistant, angry or reluctant to change. This article will describe how motivational interviewing appears to be a natural fit for deradicalization and disengagement programs (DDPs) by reviewing eight benefits to this approach. The helpfulness of motivational interviewing is realized as many DDP staff are not trained in methods to increase motivation nor do they have a working knowledge of the process of human behavior change. A point of confluence is made that regardless of the challenging population one works with, whether they are offenders from the criminology field or radicalized terrorists in the deradicalization field, the mechanics that propel behavior change remain the same.


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