Let us help you create a "Learning System" for your organization/agency

The process by which people acquire competency in MI is similar to the process by which people learn to play a piano. It is not logical to suggest that one could become a concert pianist from taking a single lesson at the piano. Not even a series of lessons, by themselves, is enough to turn a novice into a pianist. Similarly, training is only the first step to learning the practice of MI. 

“Learning Motivational Interviewing is a process, not a curriculum” (Miller & Rollnick, 2002, p.192)

Developing a knowledge transfer plan is an important element of cost-effective training. Our introductory-level workshops are highly effective as “exposure training”. They serve to help learners understand the operant principles and theory behind the MI practices, and to give participants a taste of how they might apply MI principles and practices in day-to-day practice settings. All of our workshops include extensive opportunity for experiential learning exercises that allow participants to begin to practice motivational interviews. We also ensure that every learner is set up with a practical plan for continued practice opportunities back in the workplace. We can also help you to build the in-house supports for a true “learning organization”, where the goal is to have your organization teach, mentor and the support the practice of MI – to itself!


HOW DOES ONE GET TO CARNEGIE HALL (PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!) Foundation skills of MIMastery of the foundation skills of MI requires ongoing learning, practice and feedback. For most people who want to become both “fluent” and “fluid” in conducting motivational interviews, the recipe for success involves: 1. Initial “exposure training” (the piano lesson so to speak!) 2. Ability to practice what was introduced at the intitial workshop 3. Feedback and guidance related to how the workplace practice is coming along 4. Review, from time to time, on progress and on new learning needs Our consulting team will help you develop a self-sustaining in-house system that your staff can access after their initial exposure training. Workplace based coaching and mentored skill practice is one of the best ways to foster competency in MI. Adult learners need: kolb_cycle

1. a guided introduction to the theory and principles that support new ways of doing things

2. ongoing opportunity to experiment with new skills (accompanied by feedback)

3. ways of reflecting on and processing how new ideas and experiences fit into their way of working

WHAT CONSTITUTES A “LEARNING SYSTEM”? Learning “about” motivational interviewing is a very different thing than learning “how to do” motivational interviewing! It may seem like bad business for a company that specializes in M.I. training to talk about how vast majority of learners do not acquire skill in M.I. through participation in workshops. On the contrary, we feel it is important that agencies and organizations know how to develop a network of resources to support the learning of MI. Most organizations cannot afford to become dependent on constant “learning injections” of brief training workshops. Instead, assisting organizations to develop sustainable, cost-effective in-house learning resources makes good sense – so that staff have long-term and ongoing opportunities to learn MI from practice, and not just from instruction. Developing an organizational strategy for preventing “skill drift” (the tendency for new clinical skills to erode or atrophy, over time, and return to baseline/pre-training levels) is an important consideration in developing training initiatives. Not all organizations are the same. Not all have the same needs. Not all have the same budgets. Accordingly, to help you to establish an on-going learning support program, we consider a number of factors and characteristics unique to each organization. We’ll want to talk to you a little about such variables as:

Clinical Supervision1. how much clinical supervision will follow the training? 2. what is the experience base of your learning group in terms of counselling, coaching, and hosting helpful conversations with your client group 3. how many staff might be willing to function as learning coaches after the training? 4. what kinds of in-house self-directed learning resources does your agency has access to? 5. how much time staff will be able to invest in maintaining and expanding their skills? 6. will staff be able to consult each other after the training to work on their skills in a structured, or guided way?

CONTACT US to book this course or for more detailed info on the course.

Whether your staff have had previous training with the Paul Burke Group or from another agency/trainer, we can get you started thinking about how you might move toward an organizational learning approach – with just one simple phone call! There is never a charge for an initial phone consultation. There is a growing body of literature to inform trainers and organizations about how to maximize the value of MI training. In our opinion, it is critical that trainers and organizational consultants be able to use such literature to inform the design of their training approaches. We would be happy to discuss the training implications of the published data with you and explain how the professional literature is reflected in the way we design and deliver our MI training services. One of many interesting studies related to MI training … One of the most important training studies related to MI was the “Evaluating Methods for Motivational Enhancement Education” (EMMEE) conducted by Miller et. al in 2004. In the publication resulting from the study, the authors argue that self-study and one time clinical workshops are common methods by which practitioners seek to acquire new clinical skills. At least with regard to MI however, the efficacy of these educational methods is questionable without further support for skill acquisition and maintenance. (p. 1059) The EMMEE study also found that the positive impact on counselling behaviour from a 2-day workshop were not long-lasting. To prevent skill erosion following workshop training in MI, the authors suggest that “it is unreasonable to expect that a one-shot workshop will establish enduring competence, and ongoing support is needed for acquisition and retention of proficiency. Trainers should take this into account in planning how to help clinicians learn MI” (Miller et al., 2004, p. 1060). Again, such findings support the need for post-training follow-up supervision and coaching if long-term changes in counsellor behaviour are the aim of workshop training. Most important in the EMMEE study was the finding that by combining a 2-day workshop with objective feedback and with skill coaching actually led to observable improvement in client responses. It is noteworthy that none of the study groups who had MI training alone and no skills feedback or coaching were able to demonstrate minimally accepted clinical standards (Miller et al., 2004).

Results and discussion of the EMMEE study can be obtained from: Miller, W.R., Yahne, C., Moyers, T., Martinez, J., & Pirritano, M. (2004). A randomized clinical trial of methods to help clinicians learn motivational interviewing. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(6), 1050-1062.

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