E. Summerson CarrOct 14, 2023
Working the Difference
Science, Spirit, and the Spread of Motivational Interviewing
University of Chicago Press 2023
Motivational interviewing (MI) is a professional practice, a behavioral therapy, and a self-professed conversation style that encourages clients to talk themselves into change. Originally developed to treat alcoholics, MI quickly spread into a variety of professional fields including corrections, medicine, and sanitation.
In Working the Difference: Science, Spirit, and the Spread of Motivational Interviewing (U Chicago Press, 2023), E. Summerson Carr focuses on the training and dissemination of MI to explore how cultural forms—and particularly forms of expertise—emerge and spread. The result is a compelling analysis of the American preoccupations at MI’s core, from democratic autonomy and freedom of speech to Protestant ethics and American pragmatism.
Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine.