When most people hear the term “motivational interviewing,” they typically think of how counselors or psychologists engage with patients in a clinical setting.
But motivational interviewing is a flexible communication style that can be used in a variety of situations – even by managers or leaders in organizations.
- an overview of different post-training MI coaching methods such as MI-informed clinical supervision, peer coaching,
- the use of MI learning communities,
- the use of validated instruments utilized to measure fidelity to the model, such as the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) code and Motivational Interviewing Assessment: Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency (MIA:STEP) instruments.
Justice Clearinghouse Editors (JCH): Your webinar is specifically about Motivational Interviewing – but many people will not immediately associate this technique with management/leadership. Without giving the webinar away, can you help us understand what MI is and how it might apply to a leadership or managerial style?
Denise Beagley: The definition of Motivational Interviewing (MI) has evolved and been refined since the original publications on its utility as an approach to behavior change. The initial description, by William R. Miller in 1983, developed from his experience in the treatment of problem drinkers. I think it is refreshing that Miller recognized that he needed to change the definition as he evolved this model. Afterall, we are talking about change!
William Miller and his colleagues have detailed the principles, practices, and research supporting this treatment approach outside of the addiction field. Over the past two decades, the popularity of Motivational Interviewing has increased outside of the substance use and mental health fields (Indian J Psychol Med. 2014 Apr-Jun; 36(2): 112–118. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.130960). MI has morphed into a brief intervention communication model for helping clients change behaviors.
Example: Both managers are doing their job, but manager #2 will increase partnership and rapport with the employee.
“Why didn’t you get this report get done on time?” (directing)
“Walk me through your steps when managing a project and deadlines.” (guiding)
Employee responses will be less defensive, and your supervision time will be more productive.
Motivational Interviewing is by far the most requested training I instruct. Since 2002, I have continued to see a wide range of applications for MI skills and techniques within various disciplines like probation, parole, high school teachers, school district leaders, social workers, counselors, child welfare workers, case managers, police, and firefighters. Although MI was developed for primary use in substance using populations, other professionals are increasingly recognizing the promise MI has for addressing problems and dilemmas in other disciplines.
Many social service and criminal justice agencies have begun to integrate MI into their training curriculum. However, research has shown that training in MI alone is not enough; ongoing coaching is crucial in order to transfer learned MI skills into practical application.
Arizona State University’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy is launching a new and innovative way to coach and provide feedback via the new MyMI Portal, located at www.mymiportal.org. You will be able to receive coaching and feedback regarding your MI skills.
Since 2002, I have continued to see a wide range of applications
for MI skills and techniques within various disciplines
like probation, parole, high school teachers, school district leaders,
social workers, counselors, child welfare workers, case managers,
police, and firefighters.
JCH: Knowing that you’re not speaking to mental health professionals, why is motivational interviewing effective?
Denise: Motivational Interviewing is a communication-helping style that promotes positive behavioral change. The skills and techniques that we discuss have a solid foundation within the substance use field and can be applied to other disciplines. Using MI as a communication helping style will enhance your supervision skills and will help you reinforce communication while delivering knowledge and skills to people you supervise or coach.
Findings showed that MI can be successfully implemented across various disciplines and that workers believed MI and ongoing coaching is a valuable tool in engaging clients and families (Couturier et al. Journal of Eating Disorders (2017) 5:28 DOI 10.1186/s40337-017-0161-3).
JCH: The work that you do is important but must be challenging at times. What drew you to this work and helping those in the justice profession? What keeps you motivated or inspired to keep doing this work?
Denise: When I was an undecided college Freshman during my Spring semester, I had a friend from high school die by suicide. I found myself falling into a natural role of grief counselor and supporter to his family. I was also in my first psychology class and found my path. It was a natural progression to continue with my Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. While at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), I chose to conduct my research in the criminal justice field, focusing on the Garda Síochána (police force of the Republic of Ireland).
Using MI as a communication helping style
will enhance your supervision skills and will help you reinforce communication
while delivering knowledge and skills to people you supervise or coach.
JCH: A large number of our readers and subscribers are in law enforcement, but we have representation from all parts of the justice arena. Can you share some specifics of what different types of justice professionals or first responders will gain by attending your webinar? What skills or new knowledge will they gain that they can immediately use the next day on the job?
Denise: What I like about MI is you can start making changes to how you communicate right away. We often try to “fix people” and MI teaches how to help instead. You are able to slow down and ask open-ended questions and pull for change talk. People usually have the answers, but they want someone to agree and support them.