The word “to motivate”, in its essence, means to move or to activate. Motivation, then, refers to any internal factors that initiate and direct the actions and behavior of human beings. 

Motives can be of various kinds. They can be physical motives, psychological motives, internal or external in nature, and many more. While some of these factors are universal, others are subjective. What motivates one can have no effect or adverse effect on someone else. One behavior may have multiple motivating factors, while a group of actions may stem from a single motivation.

Similar to the importance of motivation in daily life, it is a crucial factor in the counseling process. The satisfactory outcome of any counseling depends on the client’s motivation. Lasting results are more likely to occur when an individual initiates the actions and behaviors rather than feeling obliged to do so.

The main reason for anyone to come for counseling is the want to change. To initiate different actions, direct behavior in a desirable way, and fulfill goals like happiness or resolving conflicts. Without this motivation to change, an individual would not actively engage in the process of change during counseling and investment towards the same will be low leading to an ineffective outcome.

Although motivation is a crucial aspect of the counseling process, it may not always be present. Despite their want to change, people can be resistant. Not being motivated to change their current state is a common occurrence, especially during the initial stages of counseling. Some reasons for this include fear of change, fear of failure to achieve the goal state, lack of internal motivation, avoidance, procrastination, and avoidance.

This lack of initial motivation is expected. Motivation in counseling traces back to the perception of one’s autonomy in the process. If the person feels they are not in control during counseling and are being lectured by the counselor, then it is natural for the internal motivation to dwindle.

It is the job of a counselor to keep these aspects in mind while interacting with clients. A counselor has to reassure the clients and build motivation during the sessions. A counselor may use various ways to achieve this including building a secure therapeutic alliance, mutual decision-making with clients, and being empathetic, genuine, sensitive, trusting, and open to feedback.

Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.


MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.

About the Author.

Rashmi R Sharma is a psychologist at You can learn more about her by clicking here

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of, the Founders, or management team.

Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.


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