The Value of Motivational Interviewing

I had the absolute pleasure and the privilege of taking the Level I MI/SOC workshop in May 2010, and it was ultimately a highlight in my life, both professionally and personally!

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a client-centred communication method developed by clinical psychologists William R. Miller, PhD and Stephen Rollnick, PhD back in 1991, and is intended to focus on establishing a connection with clients while helping them move towards change.

MI provides effective strategies and skills for working with many forms of behaviour change including:

  • alcohol and substance abuse
  • gambling
  • employment services
  • criminal justice
  • employee assistance programs

Communication is key, and what I loved most about the training is that the spirit of MI is about working in partnership as a team with the client because they are most definitely the expert on themselves.  I found MI techniques to be so refreshingly different in that it is the opposite of the “old-school” way of attempting to influence clients, it is simply an approach that gives the client the ability to choose because as you know, people who need to make changes in their lives are generally at different levels of readiness.

Roxanne Sawatzky is a superstar facilitator who absolutely eats, sleeps, and breathes MI, and everyone in the session I attended agreed on how comfortable she made everyone feel, how she made learning so much fun, and how her passion for MI is truly inspirational!

One of the most fascinating things I found about the MI training was the “rolling with resistance” piece, respecting the client’s reasons for same, and not treating resistance like “attitude”.  To me, listening carefully with a goal to UNDERSTANDING, using affirmations to focus on the positive, and honouring the client’s power of choice are the most important aspects of MI!

ETHOS Career Management Group is hosting a series of motivational interviewing training sessions early in 2012, the registration deadline is THU Dec 8/11, and if you’re interested, please check out more information at

~ Angela, Receptionist


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