What is Motivational Interviewing and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

What’s all the buzz about? Motivational Interviewing (MI) is definitely being talked about more and more by providers and administrators of social service, criminal justice, and health care programs. Why all the interest?

What I hear from training participants…they are tired of doing the same old thing, and the same old thing doesn’t seem to be working. They are relieved to find something new. At the beginning of the 1st day of a 2-day training (the standard for an introductory level training in MI) it usually goes something like this… “Yeah, it’s (MI) great, I’m doing a lot of this already.”

At the end of the 1st day… “Wow, this is harder than it looks, and I am so glad to have some new concrete techniques to try out with my clients.” Most people are doing things already that are very much in line with Motivational Interviewing and going through a 2-day training they are able to see how their practice already reflects the MI “spirit” as well as walk away with a bevy of new techniques and strategies to assist their clients in the daunting task of behavior change.

So, what is it?
MI is a directive, client-centered counseling approach focused on enhancing intrinsic motivation for change by helping clients explore and (hopefully) resolve ambivalence (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). Motivational Interviewing evolved out of Dr. William Miller’s work treating problem drinkers in the early 1980s and was further developed several years later with the assistance of Dr. Stephen Rollnick. MI is an evidence-based practice, with over 300 studies showing its effectiveness- another reason for all the interest!
Click here to find out more about Motivational Interviewing.

Sign up for our Motivational Interviewing 2-Day Intensive!

My Best,
Katie Slack

Posted in Bill Miller, Counseling Technique, MINT, Motivational Interviewing, Motivational Interviewing 2-Day Intensive, Motivational Interviewing Training | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Motivational Interviewing Takes Its Place On the World Stage…

* The MI community is celebrating… Motivational Interviewing has just taken its place on the World stage! Mike Clark, MI Trainer & MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers) Member, was invited by the United Nations to speak at the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice which met in Brazil in April. He was asked to address the potential that Motivational Interviewing holds as a strengths-based and evidence-based approach for use within the criminal justice system. We are excited to share the news that global interest is building for the approach!

* ICMI 2010…
Did you know there is an International Conference on Motivational Interviewing?
The 2nd International Conference on Motivational Interviewing is slated to begin shortly; it is taking place this June 7th-9th, 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference offers an interactive, stimulating meeting place for researchers, health care providers, policymakers and practicing professionals with an interest in behavior change. The conference offers an excellent venue for learning and sharing knowledge about Motivational Interviewing. It is fully booked for this year of course, but if this peaks your interest, you could begin planning to attend next year!

* NEW ARTICLE: Meta-Analysis of the past 25 Years of MI research!
Many of you may be interested in reading this article which reviews MI research over the last quarter of a century…
“A Meta-Analysis of Motivational Interviewing: Twenty-Five Years of Empirical Studies”
Lundahl, Kunz, Brownell, Tollefson, & Burke, published in Research on Social Work Practice 2010; 20; 137

It will be exciting to see how the practice of Motivational Interviewing evolves over the NEXT 25 years, especially considering a heightening global presence! I am excited to be part of the dissemination of an approach that is respectful, collaborative and most importantly empowering for the people with which we work.

* COMING SOON—MI TRAINING TODAY training dates for the rest of 2010 will be announced soon, check back for more info.!

My Best,
Katie Slack

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National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month!

*Did you know February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month? If not, you are not alone…

Congress just passed legislation dedicating the entire month to the cause (as opposed to the week it has been). I just attended the San Diego Domestic Violence Council Mtg. last week- great group of people by the way, if you’re ever interested in checking it out- and their Teen Relationship Violence Prevention Committee presented on some great things happening in the community, they talked about how local high schools are getting involved & gave out info. on

There are a lot of great things happening now to help youth learn more about healthy relationships… and there will be more happening for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in OCTOBER, all culminating in a new event called “HOPE in the Park” which will be held in Balboa Park!!


MI is a promising intervention for work with youth!

Miller and Rollnick, the co-creators of MI, describe Motivational Interviewing as a promising clinical style for working with adolescents because it is respectful, acknowledges ambivalence and personal choice, and does not increase resistance.

Research shows using MI with adolescents may also help to increase treatment engagement & retention, motivation for change, and goal setting!
Works well for emphasizing personal control and empowerment

EXPLORE: Tell me what you know about (ex: healthy relationships)
Reflect what they tell you

PROVIDE: I have some information on (ex: healthy relationships), is it ok if I tell you what I know?
Provide them with info.

EXPLORE: Ask them what they think of the info. you provided
What do you make of that?
How does that fit for you?
How does that fit with your experience?

In February, I trained the staff of 2 local non-profits who work with youth to use MI with their clients. It was a great experience training with them. They were enthusiastic learners and it was exciting to hear their ideas about where they could use MI and their plans to integrate MI into their work. My hope is MI will help them work with their clients in new, empowering, & productive ways.

Looking forward to what March brings… write me if there’s a particular MI topic you’d like to hear about.

My Best,
Katie Slack

Posted in Bill Miller, Domestic Violence, Healthy Relationships, Motivational Interviewing, Teen Dating Violence | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off


Hi Readers,

Welcome to my blog! What I hope to offer you here is some information about what is going on in the MI Training community: the latest trends, new research, topics of debate, etc.

Motivational Interviewing is a wonderful tool for working with so many different populations. MI started in the 80′s in the Alcohol & Drug Addictions Field and as I write these words, is only picking up speed. The use of MI has spread into the medical world, criminal justice system, and more recently into the domestic violence field, just to name a few.

I believe the reason for this is because as Bill Miller (co-creator of MI) said, people recognize something in MI; it feels familiar to them. Many helping professionals, as they learn about the spirit and techniques of MI, are drawn to it. The major principles of MI (respect, empathy, etc.) are things they have always tried to convey to their clients, and now with MI they have concrete tools and skills with which to do so. The result for most after an Introductory MI Training is they want to know more and they want to use MI with their clients. I had this experience as a new clinician being trained in MI and it is why I became a trainer.

So as we begin this little on-line community, please let me know your thoughts, ideas, experiences in regards to Motivational Interviewing- or any questions you may have. I would be happy to be of service & be a resource for you. Please feel free to post your comments or you can always e-mail me at katieslack@mitrainingtoday.com

***Look for My Upcoming Post on Using MI with Adolescents***

My Best,
Katie Slack

Posted in Counseling Technique, MINT, Motivational Interviewing, Motivational Interviewing 2-Day Intensive, MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING PROFICIENCY COACHING | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off