Combining Motivational interviewing with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Primary Care: A Literature Review


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Motivational interviewing

How to Cite

Thampinathan, S. (2020). Combining Motivational interviewing with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Primary Care: A Literature Review . Journal of Canada’s Physician Assistants, 1(5), 43-49. Retrieved from


Over the decades, numerous psychological concepts have enhanced our understanding of human behaviours. Specifically, psychotherapies have assisted and improved overall well being for individuals with problematic behaviour. This literature review will compare the history, theory, principles, and core skills of motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This review will illustrate why a combined approach of MI and CBT is more beneficial than using either technique on its own. The evidence available on MI-CBT effectiveness in clinical practice and ways to implement it in primary care will be discussed.



1. Smith, K., Kalish, M. L., Griffiths, T. L., & Lewandowsky, S. Introduction. Cultural transmission and the evolution of human behaviour. The Royal Society Publishing [Internet]. 2008. Retrieved from

2. Linden, M., & Schermuly-Haupt, M. L. Definition, assessment and rate of psychotherapy side effects. World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association [Internet]. 2014; 13(3), 306–309.

3. Rector, N. A. Cognitive behavioural therapy: An information guide. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [Internet]. 2010. Retrieved from

4. Mcleod, S. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [Internet]. 2019. Retrieved from

5. Our History: Beck Institute of Cognitive Behavior Therapy [Internet]. 2020. Retrieved from

6. Rnic, K., Dozois, D. J., & Martin, R. A. Cognitive Distortions, Humor Styles, and Depression. Europe's journal of psychology [Internet]. 2016; 12(3), 348–362. Retrieved from

7. Fenn, K., & Byrne, M. The key principles of cognitive behavioural therapy. InnovAiT [Internet]. 2013; 6(9), 579-585. Retrieved from

8. Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S. Motivational Interviewing: Helping people to change. Guilford Press. 2013; 15-100.

9. Miller, W. R., & Rose, G. S. Toward a theory of motivational interviewing. The American psychologist [Internet]. 2009; 64(6), 527–537. Retrieved from

10. Bundy C. Changing behaviour: using motivational interviewing techniques. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine [Internet]. 2004; 44, 43–47. Retrieved from

11. Stewart, E. E., & Fox, C. H. Encouraging patients to change unhealthy behaviors with motivational interviewing. Family practice management [Internet]. 2011; 18(3), 21. Retrieved from

12. Randall, C. L., & McNeil, D. W. Motivational Interviewing as an Adjunct to Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: A Critical Review of the Literature. Cognitive and behavioral practice [Internet]. 2017; 24(3), 296–311. Retrieved from

13.Marker, I., & Norton, P. J. The efficacy of incorporating motivational interviewing to cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety disorders: A review and meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review [Internet]. 2018; 62, 1-10. Retrieved from

14. Iarussi, M. M., Tyler, J. M., Crawford, S. H., & Crawford, C. V. Counselor training in two evidence-based practices: Motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior therapy. The Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision [Internet]. 2016; 8(3) , 7. Retrieved from

15. Naar, S., & Safren, A., S. Integrating Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Rational, Approach, and Evidence [Internet]. 2017; 1. Retrieved from

16. Davidson, J. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Basics and Beyond. Journal of Psychiatric Practice [Internet]. 2013; 19(4), 339. Retrieved from,_Basics_and_Beyond,.12.aspx

17. DiClemente, C. C., & Velasquez, M. M. Motivational interviewing and the stages of change. Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change [Internet]. 2002; 2, 201-216. Retrieved from

18. Westra, H. A., Arkowitz, H., & Dozois, D. J. Adding a motivational interviewing pretreatment to cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder: A preliminary randomized controlled trial. Journal of anxiety disorders [Internet]. 2009; 23(8), 1106-1117. Retrieved from

19. Kertes, A., Westra, H. A., Angus, L., & Marcus, M. The impact of motivational interviewing on client experiences of cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice [Internet]. 2011; 18(1), 55-69. Retrieved from

20. Barrowclough, C., Haddock, G., Beardmore, R., Conrod, P., Craig, T., Davies, L., & Wykes, T. Evaluating integrated MI and CBT for people with psychosis and substance misuse: recruitment, retention and sample characteristics of the MIDAS trial. Addictive behaviors [Internet]. 2009; 34(10), 859-866. Retrieved from
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.