Motivational Interviewing Training. Hosting Helpful Conversations


Over the past 12 years, we’ve had many organizations ask us if we could provide an “MI-type workshop” for non-clinical and various client-support staff.. In exploring the need behind such requests, we discovered that an “effective communication skills” workshop, based on the key principles, processes, and skills associated with MI might be very useful – especially in cases where “full-blown” MI training was not needed.

We responded by developing a very dynamic and highly experiential workshop called “Hosting Helpful Conversations”. We begin with an overview of some of the key MI ideas that influence the way that useful conversations are structured (hosted) in order to support clients who are trying to make various specific changes. We also help staff to understand what they can do to prevent “push back” in a conversation. Participants are given lots of opportunity to practice creating forward momentum in conversation rather than enabling the common problem of “spinning in circles” or “drifting backwards” (away from the intent of the conversation).

The workshop includes opportunity to discuss, explore, and practice with various principles of helpful conversations that can be applied to actual case scenarios (generated by learners). Examples of common “communication traps” are also provided to provide a contrast with the helpful methods highlighted in this workshop.

In this 3-day (21 hour) workshop, participants will learn:

  • How to “talk with” as opposed to “talk at” clients
  • Important differences between a helpful conversation and counselling, or therapy
  • Participants learn how to encourage clients to “join up” in a conversation to ensure that 2-way conversations are established (rather than the common problem of feeling like we have no choice but to “talk at” clients
  • How to guide a conversation in order to “keep it on the rails” and avoid turning talks into “tug-of-wars”!
  • Four ways to de-escalate the build-up of irritation, anger, and hostility in difficult conversations
  • When to “selectively listen” and “when to reflectively listen”
    • How to decide what parts of the conversation to focus on, and what to avoid when hosting a helpful conversations
    • How to show clients that you can listen, and also understand!
    • Two easy ways to host a “strengths focused conversation”
  • Five tips on how to provide information, suggestions, or advice so that the client will hear it and not argue against it
  • How to transition to a new “topic” in a conversation with clients who “dwell” too long on some tems




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“Motivational Interviewing
Training In Canada”

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Paul Burke Training Group (PBTG) workshops are offered ALL ACROSS CANADA including Yukon, North West Territories, and Nunavut