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The surest way to reduce people’s motivation for behavioral change is to prescribe the change – whether smoking, exercise, sleep habits, or other behaviors. Yet when time is limited, prescribing change can seem more effective than, say, validating a person’s experience with ineffective behaviors. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based intervention that can seem paradoxical because it focuses more on choice than change itself. MI’s approach is collaborative, supportive, and designed to strengthen client’s intrinsic motivation for and commitment to change, in an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion. At the same time, MI is deliberate, directive, and involves a specific way to listen and respond. MI gains its power through the exploration of ambivalence, discrepancies between values and actions, and attention to change talk.

In this workshop, Marty Weems will teach and illustrate how to use MI in small moments and short sessions to increase motivation to elicit change. Workshop participants will increase their proficiency in differentiating between “change talk” and “commitment language,” and learn how to elicit and shape both. The workshop will begin with an overview of the spirit and techniques of MI. Participants will then receive training and feedback on using MI through a combination of didactic material, active role-plays, and consultation. Participants are encouraged to bring examples from their own practice in which they felt discord rather than collaborative movement with clients. Participants will also have the opportunity to create change plans, consolidate commitment from clients, and otherwise integrate MI into their current practice.


Marty Weems LCSW, LCAS, is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Marty joined the faculty at the School of Social Work in 2003, and teaches graduate studies in direct practice social work. Prior to her tenure at the School of Social Work, Marty worked as a treatment provider, with a focus on substance use disorders. In 2008 she founded e-daptivity Learning and Performance Solutions, an organizational development company that specializes in providing services to behavioral healthcare agencies.


For more information and resources on MI, visit the MINT website (of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers).


printable AGENDA  | HANDOUT |   SLIDES | Types of Reflections  | Change Talk | 12 Roadblocks  | Glossary |  | Observer Sheet

UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Institute

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