At the Tenth AIDS conference, researcher Rigmor Berg from the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Health Services in Oslo, said that out of ten different trials analysing the effects of motivational interviewing as a way of reducing sexual risk behaviour, alcohol use was the only behaviour that saw a reduction which was statistically better than other methods.
Psychologists William R Miller and Stephen Rollnick developed the motivational interviewing technique in the 1980’s. The technique is intended to be a development of person-centred counselling and has proved successful at treating alcohol abuse, drug misuse and eating disorders in many cases, though according to the results of this specific study, has little effect on lessening sexual risk behaviour.
The researchers did find that behavioural outcomes such as use of condoms, frequency of unprotected sex, and the number of sexual partners did see a slight statistical improvement with the use of motivational interviewing, though when these results were combined in a meta-analysis, none of the outcomes sustained their statistical significance.
Lead researcher, Dr Berg said it was interesting that the only behaviour motivational interviewing has a consistent effect on was drinking, at least in the short term. The reason that this technique might not be successful in sexual risk behaviour was that the risk was the decision shared between two people, she concluded.
If you have decided you would like to seek help from a counsellor or psychotherapist, you may find it useful to first understand the different types of therapy they may use. Although each one can be effective, some approaches are more suitable for certain areas of counselling or psychotherapy than others. To find out more about the different forms of counselling and psychotherapy, please visit our ‘Therapies’ section to find out more.
View the original aidsmap article here.