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Motivational Interviewing

'Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with a particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.' (Miller & Rollnick, 2013).

We offer training and supervision for practitioners wishing to develop skills in MI whatever their level of experience and setting within which they work. The training is delivered by a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and the curriculum is aligned to the content recommended for practitioners and trainers in MI. The delivery team offer an experiential programme of MI learning based on their clinical experience and published research in the field internationally and across the UK. The lead trainer, Dr Jeff Breckon, got his MI training from Prof Bill Miller and Prof Steve Rollnick and has delivered the Training New Trainers (TNT) programme for MINT in Barcelona (2009) and Krakow (2013).

The workshops enable practitioners from a range of settings, to experience the application of MI and develop skills and awareness of MI ‘spirit’, microskills (OARS), and change/sustain talk. The workshops are founded on the four processes of MI: ‘engaging’, ‘focusing’, ‘evoking’, and ‘planning’ as recommended by Miller & Rollnick (2013). All delegates receive training materials in electronic format and real and role-play packs for practice sessions beyond the workshop. A range of teaching approaches are used in order to provide a comprehensive and enjoyable learning environment which include experiential real-play, video and demonstration as well as opportunities for self-reflection and skills assessment using validated instruments and measures (e.g. MITI 4.0).

The Sheffield Hallam University workshops provided are as follows;

Level 1 (Introductory MI, 2-days): To develop an understanding of the components of the technical and relational components of MI and the role of behaviour change in promoting health outcomes. Identify the levels of reflective listening and introduce the role of change talk and self-reflective coding.

Level 2 (Intermediate MI, 2-days): To further develop an understanding of the strategic use of OARS including the elicitation of change talk and the direction and 'phases' of MI sessions. Practice includes the use of coded MI assessment instruments such as MITI and BECCI.

Level 3 (Advanced MI, 2-days): Having developed sound understanding of the spirit and OARS of MI, the focus of level 3 is to apply these skills for more ambivalent patients and clients and to be able to identify and manage discord more effectively. Adaptations to MI will be considered in greater depth such as the use of MI in groups and for specific populations such as children and adolescents. Audio coding of sessions will be employed throughout for skills development.

Please click here to view all upcoming workshops.

Previous client organisations that SHU has trained in MI include

  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust
  • Activity Sheffield
  • Huddersfield's Sexual Health Team
  • The Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre
  • Drugline Lancashire Ltd
  • Middlesbrough PCT
  • Sunderland PCT
  • Redcar and Cleveland PCT
  • Bedford Physical Activity Group
  • Sheffield West PCT
  • Hartlepool Borough Council
  • British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES)
  • Durham PCT
  • South Yorkshire CMP

Who should attend a motivational interviewing workshop?

  • Practitioners wishing to become members of MINT and to attend Train the Trainers (TNT)
  • Exercise prescribers or weight loss specialists
  • Health professionals working with patients in order to reduce 'riskbehaviours' and achieve health behaviour change
  • Counsellors working in 'addiction settings' such as drugs, smoking, alcohol and lethargy
  • Other areas of counselling that use MI include sexual health, diet/nutrition, domestic violence and young offenders
  • Health professionals working with patients in a counselling or advisory role.

Aims and objectives of MI

The courses will introduce, develop and evaluate skills in MI, exploring individuals' ambivalence to change from risk behaviours. The main aims and objectives of the courses are:

  • To understand and be able to apply the technical (OARS) and relational (spirit) components of MI embedded within the four processes (engagement, focusing, evoking and planning)
  • To develop skills in exploring a client’s ambivalence and readiness for change
  • To identify effective methods of psychotherapeutic counsellingtechniques for initial and ongoing consultation sessions
  • To enable counsellors to encourage clients self-efficacy and self-responsibility for change
  • To develop skills within the counsellor that will aid the client to move through the stages of behaviour change including maintenance and relapse prevention.

The programme is supported by an online MI training package developed specifically for health professionals and those wishing to assess their own knowledge and applied competence in MI. For information on this package, try a demo at

For further information on the workshop content and aims please contact Dr Jeff Breckon or to enquire about booking a place on an upcoming course please contact

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