This article explores the theory and practice of using the solution-focused approach of motivational interviewing (MI) with young people. MI is based on the premise that people are not always at a stage of readiness to change behaviours, such as smoking, drinking or drug use, which are perceived by others to be problematic. The article explores the theoretical and research background to the approach as well as the practical application. There then follows an illustrative case study of the work with a boy approximately 12 years old. The article concludes with a critical look at the work and suggestions for its potential application in schools. The authors conclude that this is a useful approach and recommend further research in educational settings.