Motivational Interviewing:

From the Basics to Advanced Skills

Motivational Interviewing:
From the Basics to Advanced Skills

Change Is Hard

Year after year, people fail at taking the steps needed to feel better and do better in their lives. The problem is most people who want to change don’t know how.

One of the most common barriers to change is ambivalence. It’s “yes, but” thinking: “I’d like to get exercise, but I get home from work late and then have to take care of my kids.”

But change doesn’t have to be out of reach for anyone.


Motivational Interviewing is an evidence-based approach to help people change behavior…for good…on their own terms and in their own way, the only way that change really “sticks.”

By using motivational interviewing, you help others resolve their ambivalence about change and move beyond “yes, but” to discover their own interest in considering and/or making changes in their lives. Motivational interviewing supports people in expressing their desire for change in their own words (“change talk”). Then, it helps amplify and strengthen that change talk, which ultimately can lead to planning for change and taking action.

Motivational interviewing gives people hope and confidence, and helps them celebrate the small changes that can lead to big rewards.


2000px-Check_mark_23x20_02.svgDo you (or should you) have conversations about change?
2000px-Check_mark_23x20_02.svg  Will people’s lives be improved if you are able to help them succeed in making changes in their thinking and behavior?
2000px-Check_mark_23x20_02.svgIs helping or encouraging people to make changes part of what you do at home, work, school, or in the community?
2000px-Check_mark_23x20_02.svgAre you ever concerned about how to maintain good relationships with others so you can help them or retain them as clients or customers?
2000px-Check_mark_23x20_02.svgAre the people you want to help reluctant or ambivalent about making changes? Do they struggle to make changes that are important to them?
2000px-Check_mark_23x20_02.svgDo you ever struggle to help people who seem “resistant,” “in denial,” “unmotivated,” or “difficult?”


Motivational Interviewing is a powerful skill that can be used in any setting, in any context, and with any individual or group of people. Motivational Interviewing enables you to work collaboratively in a trusting partnership to:


  • Engage people in conversation about their dreams, goals, and aspirations.
  • Focus people’s attention on factors that matter to them and count in their lives.
  • Evoke from people their own thoughts, ideas, and feelings about change that will propel them forward through an effective self-change process by resolving ambivalence about change and past the “yes, but” stage.
  • Help people create a plan of action that works for them and fits with their needs, interests, values, and preferences so they can achieve goals that are meaningful to them.


  • Improves outcomes and boosts client satisfaction
  • Increases staff recruitment, satisfaction, and retention in agencies that train their staff in motivational interviewing
  • Reduces burn-out and staff attrition
  • Decreases conflicts and confrontations with others



David Mee-Lee - Co-founder

Dr. David Mee-Lee
IWE Co-founder, Clinical Faculty

Annie Biers LPC, MINT

Annie Biers, LPC, MINT
Clinical Faculty

Deborah Teplow

Dr. Deborah Teplow
Training Faculty


MINT* Reviewers

  • Tamara Atkinson, MSW, LCSW
  • Sandra R. Brown, DNP, APRN
  • Bridgette Franklin
  • Shawn Yeager

*MINT is the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, an international organization committed to promoting high-quality MI practice and training.

Editorial Staff

  • Jenna Hille, MS
  • Leslie Martin, MS
  • Megan Yousef, PharmD

“I was very impressed with the interactive components of the module which enhance learning. I frequently wonder about the effectiveness of online (self-learning) of MI. This course offers a lot of practice, listening, and writing reflective responses that can easily assist in learning MI and building MI skills.”

Sandra R. Brown, DNP, APRN

“Excellent material, very creative, engaging and less intimidating than many other training programs.”

“Great descriptions, excellent demonstrations and explanations.”


Shawn Yeager

“Very creative and interesting. This course provides a very creative and interactive approach to an MI online course. The activities were interesting and varied, helping to maintain interest, but required an appropriate level of thoughtfulness and introspection.”

“…valuable for individuals with basic counseling skills and for those with more advanced skills…will capture the interest of professionals who have the basic skills but who want additional training to gain competency and to be able to provide supervision.”

Tamara Bradham Atkinson, MSW, LCSW

“This course gave me in-depth training in motivational interviewing that included abundant practice on critical skills that are making a difference in how I practice. The course goes way beyond anything we got in our graduate training and fills in a big gap that I’m sure a lot of clinicians have.”

Julie S, RN MFCC


Course Format

Learn when, how, where you want, and at a pace that’s right for you.

Motivational Interviewing requires a complex set of skills that takes effort and deliberate practice to develop. Our course is designed for busy people with a lot of demands on their time and periods when “life” gets in the way.

  • 30-40 hours of online, on-demand instruction and experiential, skill-building activities
  • Live teleconferences tailored to your schedule give you practice and feedback in a supportive, encouraging environment
  • 12 months to complete
  • Self-paced course that fits into your life–not the other way around
  • Emphasis is on deliberate practice and real-world application
  • Written feedback based on the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) coding system to celebrate our strengths and note opportunities for growth and improvement


Course Outline
  1. Overview of MI definition, development, and application
  2. Three building blocks of MI: spirit, skills, process
  3. Three styles: directing, following, guiding
  4. Roadblocks to effective communication and MI practice
  5. Introduction to and deliberate practice with OARS skills
  6. Reflective learning: self-coding your own practice
  7. How People Change: Change vs Sustain Talk (DARN-CAT)
  8. The four processes of MI (engaging, focusing, evoking, planning)
  9. Responding to change and sustain talk
  10. Avoiding or responding to discord
  11. Applying MI skills in the context of other change-implementation strategies

Learning Objectives

This course is a post-graduate course. It assumes that participants possess fundamental counseling skills for working with clients on issues related to behavioral health.

  1. Identify the three key elements of MI practice (spirit, skills, processes).
  2. Demonstrate how the four elements of MI spirit (partnership, acceptance, compassion, and evocation) apply in practice.
  3. Recognize elements of MI in action in a variety of settings and contexts.
  4. Define the principles of a person-centered approach to change.
  5. List practices that are inconsistent with a person-centered, MI-consistent approach to change.
  6. Demonstrate basic skills OARS skills.
  7. Recognize change talk in structured and live practice.
  8. Respond to change and sustain talk to promote the self-change process.
  9. Demonstrate strategies to recover from discord.
  10. Demonstrate the four MI processes (engaging, focusing, evoking, and planning) in structured and live practice.
  11. Work with clients to define goals and a change plan.
  12. Demonstrate facility with self-coding based on MITI coding system.
  13. Describe ways to apply MI into your life at work, home, and in the community.
Continuing Education

CE credits are pending.

Target Audience

This course is designed for licensed, post-graduate behavioral healthcare professionals; and other licensed healthcare providers who provide direct patient care, including nurses.

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CategoryCostOne-time PaymentInterest-free Payment Plan
Regular Tuition
$595ONE-TIME PAYMENT3 equal payments of $199
Special Discount for Current IWE Students
$100 discount if you’re taking other IWE courses.
3 equal payments of $165
Bulk Discount for Agencies
$100 discount per person for 3 or more