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Motivational Interviewing: Advancing Skills Practice

A page within Motivational Interviewing

Advance your MI skills!

This 20-hour course will be a mix of live online session(s) using the Zoom platform and self-directed learning in the Canvas online course site.

The course is designed for learners who have intermediate knowledge and skills needed for the practice of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and want to strengthen their existing skillset. Participate in four, 3-hour, live online, instructor-led sessions, including lecture, discussion and small group practice sessions. Enhance your learning with 8-hours of required self-study coursework. Improve your MI practice through peer (one session) and instructor (two sessions) feedback from simulated client interviews.

As a learner of this course, you are required to purchase a copy of Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: A Practitioner Workbook, Second Edition by David B. Rosengren (2017) by the start of the class. This required textbook is sold by many online vendors. Please look for ISBN number 9781462532063.

University of Wisconsin-Madison is the course provider and will process your registration.

This course will be offered in Spring 2025.

Please check back for dates and registration details.

Client and therapist evoking change talk

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Practice using MITI 4.2.1 coding manual for personal and peer feedback and growth.
  • Apply in-class knowledge and skills practice to peer and standardized client interviews.
  • Develop strong skills in the recognition of client change talk, sustain talk and discord.
  • Employ strategies for effective responses to quell discord, soften sustain talk and cultivate change talk.
  • Distinguish signs of readiness for planning from preparatory change language and employ strategies for testing the waters of change.
  • Design a personal MI competency-based professional development plan.
  • Outline a plan for the implementation of MI in your practice setting.

This course is designed for participants who have either:

  1. Have experience using MI in a professional setting, or
  2. Meet the following minimum course requirements:
    • At least three (3) days of cumulative MI training
    • Experience using MI in a professional setting
    • Understand MI theory and practice, including the following terms and concepts:
      • Sustain Talk
      • Change Talk
      • Ambivalence
      • Discord
      • Dealing with Discord
      • Definition of MI
      • Motivation: where it comes from
      • Helper's role in change process
      • Righting Reflex
      • Amplified Reflection
      • Complex Reflection
      • Simple Reflection
      • Double-Sided Reflection
      • Metaphor
      • Affirmation vs. Compliments
      • Focusing
      • Engaging
      • Planning
      • Knowing the Why vs. the How
      • Affective/Feeling Reflection
      • Coming Alongside
      • Evoking
      • Evocation
      • Partnership
      • Acceptance
      • Emphasizing Autonomy
      • Seeking Collaboration
      • Compassion
Course Outline


Day 1

  • Apply the relational skills of Motivational Interviewing to patient interactions
  • Observe and recognize fundamental skills: listening, open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, summarization, seeking collaboration and emphasizing autonomy

Day 2

  • Describe the MI practice elements at the highest levels of competency
  • Employ knowledge of relational elements to feedback and coaching with class peers

Day 3

  • Identify situations where focusing goes off track
  • Construct effective and highly rated responses to different client cues (readiness, ambivalence and discordance)
  • Employ knowledge of technical elements to feedback and coaching with class peers
  • Practice coding using your own peer interview

Day 4

  • Prepare to use MI skills for planning in real practice settings
  • Design a plan for advancing individual MI skills
  • Apply course knowledge to a final standardized client interview
Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 20
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 2
American Psychological Association - Continuing Education Credit 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Substance Abuse Counselors - Continuing Education Credit Hours 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Marriage and Family Therapists - Continuing Education Credit Hours 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Social Workers - Continuing Education Credit Hours 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Licensed Professional Counselors 20

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Course Format

How You'll Learn

  • This course is delivered entirely online, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous elements.
  • Your online Canvas course site will open two weeks before the first live online skills-building workshop.
  • Meet via Zoom for four live, online skills-building workshops.