So You Want to be a Motivational Interviewing (MI) Trainer!

“I became a trainer by attending a Training-for-New-Trainers (TNT) through the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT)”

says MINT trainer Mary Minten, PhD, MFT, CST, LCADC, who provides training and supervision in MI. “I also did a program called MIA-STEP (Motivational Interviewing Assessment – Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency). These two trainings complement each other. MINT TNT trainings teach facilitators how to train groups of people – leading a workshop. MIA-STEP focuses on supervision – using MI as a supervisor to get someone to a level we call ‘proficiency’.” MIASTEP includes more training on coding and using MI with an individual learner. MIA-STEP trains supervisors to use the MI process in supervision too.” According to Mary, people often have the misconception that MI is cheerleading or “focusing on the positive” when in reality MI practitioners are trained to “listen, reflect, and evoke change talk”. Once trained, it is useful to continue to work on individual skills and be coded by other MI learners, but at some point it is important to find a supervisor trained in MIA-STEP to have your sessions coded and watch the supervisors work.

Recommendations

Mary’s recommendations for current MI reading are the 3rd edition of Miller and Rollnick’s classic book, Motivational Interviewing, printed in 2013, with Rosengren’s 2nd edition of Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: A Practitioner Workbook. (Links to attached pdf flyers can be included or embedded.) (Citations: Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S., 1952. (2013). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change (3rd; ed.). New York; London; Guilford Press. Rosengren, & B, D. (2017). Building motivational interviewing skills, second edition: A practitioner workbook (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications Inc. M.U.A.) One bonus of the Miller and Rollnick book is that it has a summary and list of MI topics with a listing of solid research articles for each topic. There is also a list of supplemental materials on the Companion website to Motivational Interviewing: Third Edition: Helping People Change, by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick (with supplemental files):  . One of Mary’s favorite studies is Motivational Interviewing as an Intervention for At Risk Couples (Cordova, Warren, and Gee, 2001) because it showed that MI can be used successfully with couples. Using their research as a jumping off point, Mary has followed up with two studies of her own, one with gay male couples and another with lesbian couples. Look for her research to be published in 2018.

According to Mary, MI is very versatile, “Folks will find any number of studies in MI with different concerns, domestic violence, substance use, medical health behaviors (taking medications), exercise, dental health behaviors (flossing teeth), court-ordered adults and juveniles, self-harm, groups, teens in general, and more.” Besides being inimitably useful across the spectrum of behavioral health issues, MI is an important counseling technique that can be used in almost unlimited settings. According to Miller and Rollnick, MI encourages change, addresses resistance, promotes autonomy, provides feedback, and enhances confidence (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). Motivational Interviewing should be in the toolbox of everyone in the behavioral health, medical, and allied health fields.

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