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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists

Inland Empire Chapter

Our Mission:  We are professional visionaries dedicated to providing training, networking, and advocacy for Marriage and Family Therapists to promote healthy individual, couple, and family relationships

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Ashley Stacy, Melissa Stratton, Brittany Leary, Kathy Louis-Sanders, Joel Latimer, Kathleen Sarmiento

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At Our Last Meeting . . .

At the Intersection of Depth Psychology & Self Care: An Alternate New Lens on Motivational Interviewing

Dr. Maxine Langdon Starr

Participants were able to further understand and have greater sophistication about the bridge between these three main ideas of Hermeneutics, Depth Psychology, and Self Care; and how these ideas inform the principles of Motivational Interviewing; which were expanded upon during the initial presentation and experienced in a workshop style discussion later on. This then impacted their overall professional growth in how they will interact with their clients and how they will reflect upon these concepts as they relate through their own development and experiential lenses.


  • Research methodology that encompasses “the art of understanding” (Thiselton, 2009, pp. 2-3).
  • Take into account the meaning(s) that one may assign to a text, voice passage, or in our case, therapy session and meaning(s) that a therapist may consciously and/or unconsciously assign to a client(s) narrative.

Depth Psychology

  • Began with Freud (of course) but Jung brought another layer of meaning to the discussion
  • Deals with the unconscious & what is not being said in treatment (both on part of client and especially therapist)
  • Uses principles outside the “typical” norm of therapy to inform the therapeutic process (e.g., myth, religion, spirituality, history, greater societal context(s))


  • No one understands that taking care of what cannot be seen (AKA not just from a medical, empirically scientific point of view) is a critical step in healthcare more than therapists do.
  • How much self-care are we doing for ourselves; and if we are not, then how can we expect our clients to be motivated for change?
  • “Motivational interviewing respects patient self-determination, acknowledges patient autonomy, and recognizes that it is the patient who must decide whether and how to change behaviors” (McCarthy, 2009, p. 413).
  • Developing a discrepancy between current behaviors & future goals is key to supporting client self-efficacy in improvement of self-care domains.

Motivational Interviewing

  • Originally conceived as a brief, evidence based therapy intervention
  • Recent research has focused on the spirit of motivational interviewing, which:

“Encourages subjective interpretation of how to emulate concepts such as partnership, acceptance, compassion, and evocation” (Crawford, J. I., 2016, p. 54).

  • Embedded within the definition of motivational interviewing is the goal to enhance motivation to change via resolution of ambivalence (Miller & Rollnick, 2013; as also stated in Crawford, J.I., 2016).
  • This grappling with ambivalence directly ties back into one of the primary conflicts (most likely unconscious) that many clients are presenting within the therapeutic context and may be unknowingly hindering their ability to meet their self-expressed goals.


  • 1. Understand at least 3 innovative ways that depth psychology, hermeneutics, and principles of self-care apply to motivational interviewing
  • 2. Apply at least 3 principles of hermeneutics as they relate to working with clients from a motivational interviewing perspective
  • 3. Apply at least 2 principles of depth psychology as they relate to working with clients from a motivational interviewing perspective
  • 4. Recognize at least 2 ways their own inner communication may influence communication in therapy and thus have some common threads to self-care and therapist personal development.


Dr. Starr has been licensed since 2012 as an MFT in California. She received her Ph.D. in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2016. She has been in private practice since 2011, and specializes in working with adolescents, young adults, and women’s issues; including treating issues relating to self-care, self-esteem, and stress. She works full time within the school district’s Special Education Department as an Educationally Related Mental Health Therapist and is an adjunct professor at several universities in the Southern CA area teaching courses for future MFTs, and in programs of ABA, School Counseling, and School Psychology.

Brief List of References:

Crawford, J.I. (2016). Transformative Communication: A Depth Psychological Perspective of Motivational Interviewing. (Ph.D. Dissertation). Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA, USA.

McCarthy, P. (2009). Patient empowerment and motivational interviewing: Engaging patients to self-manage their own care. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 36(4), 409-413.

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing third edition: Helping

people change. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Thiselton, A. (2009). Hermeneutics: An introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

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