Motivating Positive Change
May 31, 2018

Our Training Institute provides interactive, hands-on training and continuing education credits for professionals in the human services sector. In 2017 alone, our Institute trained over 16,000 individuals throughout New York City and nation-wide. One important — and quite popular –training our Institute offers is Motivational Interviewing and it is invaluable to professionals in the field.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a three part training that serves as an important prelude to other treatments and services. It teaches professionals how to establish an openness to change in a client, and develop the skills they need to work with clients to recognize and address their problem behaviors and make positive changes in their lives.

Foundations of Motivational Interviewing Part I gives an overview of the foundations of the skills of helping people change. These skills include OARS (Open Questions, Affirmations, Reflective Listening, and Summary Reflections), expressing empathy, rolling with resistance and avoiding common roadblocks to change. These skills are all designed to help professionals address the ambivalence people can experience when trying to make a change. People often recognize the change they need to make but have a difficultly motivating themselves to take tangible steps towards it.

“We talk a lot about the spirit behind what you do when you do it,” explains James Kennedy, the Assistant Director of Training at CUCS. “Not only are the words you say important, but the intention behind them has power as well.”

Foundations of Motivational Interviewing Part II builds upon the techniques learned in Part I and helps practitioners promote a commitment to change in their clients while avoiding things that get in the way of their client’s motivation. It teaches participants how to use “change talk” to motivate clients and goes over techniques like DARN statements (Desire, Ability, Reasons, Need, Commitment), reframing and agreement with a twist.

“These techniques are meant to help people guide their clients. In MI, it is important to look at the positive impact that the change will have on your client’s life and then help guide them towards it,” explains James.

Motivational Interviewing for Supervisors is about helping people sustain the skills they have learned in the two courses. It is important that people take away certain goals and skills at the trainings. The skill sets are broken down and through supervision, people reflect on the skills they learned in the trainings and how they used them in their own practice.

“Motivational Interviewing encourages professionals to change the way they do things with their clients and putting all the skills learned in the trainings together can be a lot harder than it seems,” says James. When implemented successfully, Motivational Interviewing can provide professionals with important skills to help their clients make lasting positive change in their lives.