Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing Practitioner

If your service users appear low on motivation, if they have not self-referred and feel coerced, if their 'sustain talk' is more common than their 'change talk' then taking a 'motivational interviewing' approach may help to move them forwards more effectively.

What is the rationale for Motivational Interviewing?

  • Ambivalence usually precedes change. People who are seeking change tend to be ambivalent.
  • If you 'confront' an ambivalent person, taking up one side of their argument, it usually elicits the other side of the argument from them.
  • We gradually become more committed to that which we voice, therefore eliciting counter-change arguments often decreases the likelihood of change.
  • Level of client defensiveness (taking the non-change side of the argument) is strongly influenced by the practitioner; it can be increased or decreased.
  • Confronting responses from practitioners particularly elicit defensiveness (commonly viewed as resistance and denial) and it only takes a few confronting responses to do this.
  • Client defensiveness predicts a lack of behaviour change.
  • Confrontational treatment methods produce little behaviour change. Clients change least with the most confrontational practitioners. Lower defensiveness predicts greater change.
  • Confrontation should be thought of as a goal, in that clients should be helped to look at and confront themselves, rather than a method used by practitioners to pursue that goal.


Below are links to two information sheets containing hints and tips:

Tips for Encouraging Motivation to Change (pdf)

Ten Strategies for Evoking Change Talk (pdf)



This course aims to develop participants' knowledge of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and to enable participants to use MI as tool to increase motivation, to support change, to 'roll with resistance' and to respond appropriately to strains and ruptures in the therapeutic relationship.



By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the key concepts and principles of motivational interviewing
  • Understand how to build more productive relationships with those they work with
  • Describe the Cycle of Change
  • Define 'Ambivalence'
  • Complete a 'Decisional Balance'
  • Demonstrate enhanced key working skills
  • Identify situations in their practice when the use of MI techniques would be appropriate with particular clients


Training Overview

  • The basic principles of MI
  • What is 'Motivation'?
  • The Cycle of Change
  • What is 'Ambivalence'?
  • Key skills in working with ambivalent clients and developing positive working relationships
  • The importance of 'Professional Curiosity' in helping 'stuck clients' become 'unstuck'
  • Responding to Resistance, Strains and Ruptures in the working relationship 
  • Review and evaluation

Practitioners who may provide one-off interventions will benefit from the inclusion of 'Brief Motivational Interview' training covering the 'Menu of Strategies'  approach (opens in a new window).

Sessions can be run as 'An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing' covering the basic concepts and skills, or delievered in a more in-depth style for more experienced practitoners. Additional areas that can be covered include:

  • Node Link Mapping and Motivational Interviewing
  • Motivational Interviewing and Therapeutic Working Alliance fostering techniques
  • Using MI in Recovery-Oriented Approaches


Recent Feedback

"Thoroughly enjoyed the training and the presenter was enthusiastic and informative"
PACT Mentor, Leeds

"I found the training really interesting. The tutor was very profesional with all necessary knowledge. Very funny at the same time with lots of good examples. Will definitely benefit from the training."
Practitioner, Streetworks, Edinburgh

"Motivational Interviewing is an excellent skill that will be useful for any practitioner - Hugh's training is very informative & professionally delivered"
Giving Time Co-ordinator, Leeds

Suitable for:
Anyone wishing to improve the effectiveness and outcomes of work they do in supportive or helping relationships including drug and alcohol professionals, Youth Workers, Social Workers, and Probation Officers.

One Day

Prior Knowledge:
Previous experience of work in a supportive or helping profession would be advantageous, though not essential.

All training packages are mapped to the relevant National Occupational Standards

All training packages include a certificate of training for participants and a comprehensive participant's pack that can be customised to include your details.

Although Soma is based in Lancashire, in the North West of England, we deliver drug and alcohol awareness training across England, Scotland and Wales.