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Motivational Interviewing: Introduction & Application

3 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $29.00

Co-Developed by Sage de Beixedon Breslin, Ph.D., Claire Dorotik-Nana, M.S. LMFT & Dolores Collins, B.A.

This course is not eligible for NBCC credit.

Course materials: text/webpage Articles    videoVideos

Transcripts are available for ALL videos in pdf format.

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General Course Description

Motivational Interviewing is a non-judgmental, non-confrontational, client-centered method for eliciting behavioral change by facilitating the exploration of and resolution of ambivalence and the discovery and use of intrinsic motivation. Developed in part by clinical psychologists William R. Miller, Ph.D. and Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D, Motivational Interviewing was first used with those with substance abuse and addiction issues. It is now used for a wide variety of issues. Motivational interviewing incorporates four basic therapeutic skills: the use of open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summative statements to the client. These techniques help to identify behaviors that are inconsistent with personal values and goals. Accepting the client's actual readiness to change and encouraging the client to weigh the pros and cons of change, enhance the therapeutic alliance and enable the client to make more productive choices that are consistent with stated goals.

The first five articles provide not only an introduction to the concept and process of Motivational Interviewing, but also review its foundation and development over time. Research is presented to identify how it is used as a general counseling style, as well as in use with very specific issues. The second section is comprised of two videos that demonstrate the value of Motivational Interviewing in a healthcare setting (and the potential for empathic failure when it is not used!). Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope. It also does not serve as a permission to title yourself in any specific way.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Identify the basic principles of Motivational Interviewing.

2.    Summarize the techniques utilized in Motivational Interviewing.

3.    Review populations with whom Motivational Interviewing has been used successfully.

Course Syllabus

What is Motivational Interviewing (MI)

History, background, and theory

The method/technique itself

Stages of change

Elements impacting results

  • Therapist factors
    • Training in MI
    • Therapist style: directive vs. reflective
    • Presence of perceived empathy
  • Client factors


  • Weight control
  • Phobia
  • Substance Abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Smoking cessation
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