Help for Empaths: Motivational Interviewing Part 3

Do you know one of the things I admire most about Highly Sensitive Introverts? We naturally want to help people. It’s our nature to be empathic. When our loved ones hurt, we hurt. Our heart goes out to them. If they’re anxious, we’re anxious to a certain extent. Research reveals that emotions are contagious.

The downside of empathy is that sometimes our emotional discomfort continues for hours after a discussion is over. It can be hard to sleep and it drains our energy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to help people without taking on so much of their emotion? Sometimes our shoulders carry a heavy load. We need ways to stay grounded and centered.

One way we unconsciously try to diminish our emotional discomfort is by giving advice. I admit it; sometimes advice slips out of my mouth even though I’ve had lots of training. I have to stop and remind myself to use Motivational Interviewing (MI)

If you didn’t get a chance to read the Motivational Interviewing articles I sent in the last two weeks, click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

I’ll recap a bit of the Motivational Interviewing articles.

When a person comes to me with a problem, I first need to ask permission-questions after I make some empathic reflections. Here are examples: “Wow, that sounds really hard. I can see how anxious you are. Do you want me to just listen and be a sounding board? Or, would you like me to ask questions to help you explore your issue, gain insight, and then generate your own solutions? Or, do you want my advice?” 

My clients have shown me over and over again that they don’t need my advice. They are capable of uncovering their own wisdom if I hold sacred space for them and ask open-ended questions. 

The major benefits of Motivational Interviewing (MI) are: 

People get to be proud of themselves because they discovered the solutions that work for them. They feel more empowered and self-confident. They experience agency.

I love it when people use Motivational Interviewing with me, and I think your loved ones might like it, too. 

I think you will like Motivational Interviewing (MI) because you’ll be relieved of the sense of heavy responsibility. You can take that sack of rocks off your shoulders. You’ll still be able to convey compassion, but you won’t take on so much of the other person’s emotion. MI will help you dial down your empathy and remain emotionally connected in a healthy way.

Would you like to improve your Motivational Interviewing skills?

Get a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to be in an HSP Coaching Group with me. Listen to this one hour recording and witness like-minded Highly Sensitive Introverts having fun learning together.

Here’s what a couple of the participants had to say about the Group Coaching:

I learned a lot from your Motivational Interviewing (MI) coaching group. I gained ideas of how to improve the relationship with my partner and how to manage everyday life. You were very clear, authentic and well organized in how you presented your ideas. I love the way you had us all participate. We took notes on the aspects of motivational interviewing as we watched you coach a participant. Sharing what we observed helped us understand how to utilize the MI tools. Thank you for this excellent group learning experience.  ~ A.I., Atlanta, GA

Thank you Benita! I will definitely be putting this technique into practice with my mother. We are both guilty of giving each other “unappreciated advice.”  ~ R.P., Blairsville, GA

Contact Information

If you would like private confidential life coaching or spiritual counseling to efficiently resolve your issues … or if you would like to participate in a group for Highly Sensitive People, please reach out to me. You will receive a response Monday-Thursday to get the ball rolling.

Benita A. Esposito is the author of the bestselling book, The Gifted Highly Sensitive IntrovertWisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self, available on Amazon. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in North Carolina, and a life coach and spiritual counselor for Highly Sensitive Introverts worldwide.

Citation: Motivational Interviewing (MI) was developed by William R. Miller. The purpose of motivational interviewing is to help a person actively participate in the change process by tuning into their intrinsic motivation. It helps people resolve ambivalence so they can more effectively make decisions and act on them. The five pillars of MI are autonomy, acceptance, adaptation, empathy, and evocation.

5 Steps to Empower Successful Decision-making: Motivational Interviewing Part 2

I mentioned that we often want to give advice because we want to be helpful in part one of this Motivational Interviewing article. We are compassionate Highly Sensitive Introverts, and we want our loved ones’ pain to go away as quickly as possible. Sometimes advice-giving is helpful, but other times it fosters unhealthy codependency instead of personal empowerment. Read more

The Downside of Advice-giving: Motivational Interviewing Part I


If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. 

If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” – unknown


When our loved ones experience problems, its only natural that we want to help resolve their troubles. Empathic sensitive people are smart and weve learned a lot. We want to help. One of our natural tendencies is to give people advice and tell them what to do. Therapists, parents, friends, supervisors, and teachers fall prey to this tendency. Read more

Healing Toxic Shame

When you make a mistake and someone is disappointed in you, do you feel like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs? When dogs experience shame, their bodies automatically respond with this behavior.  Read more

7 Tips to Transform Hurt Feelings

Have your feelings been hurt and you just couldn’t let it roll off your back? Faster than you can blink your eyes, your heart sinks. Tension shoots through your veins. You emotionally withdraw or get angry. None of that helps, and you know it, but that’s your automatic response.  Read more

Four Tips to Sensitively Say ‘No’ to Children. Part 1 of 2

I’d like to share a special experience that occurred in our weekly Highly Sensitive Person Resilience Group.  This particular story is about hurtful ways that our group members were  parented, and their desire to be better parents to their children. Read more

Webinar: Assertiveness Training for Highly Sensitive People

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

• Why is it so difficult to stand up for my self?
• Why do I let people treat me so poorly?
• Is it selfish to ask for what I want when others don’t like it?
• How do I assert myself without hurting people’s feelings? Read more

Webinar: How Highly Sensitive People Can Find Peace in an Angry Storm

How do you feel when your family grumbles at you because your sensitive feelings have surfaced once again? Read more

Webinar: Empaths and Highly Sensitive People

How to Set Boundaries to Prevent Overwhelm

We hold a monthly webinar for Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s) on the second Wednesday of the month.

This group is a safe gathering place for HSP’s to receive support from other HSP’s and to experience expert guidance from a Highly Sensitive Therapist, Life Coach and Spiritual Counselor. You’ll gain tools so you can be happier and healthier. And you’ll be inspired by other high-achieving HSP’s personal and professional successes. Read more

Highly Sensitive Introverts’ Strengths and Struggles

This is chapter 3 from the book by Benita A. Esposito, MA:

The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert:

Wisdom for Emotional Healing and

Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self Read more