Training Expectations


What might you expect out of different lengths and types of training?


The Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) is an international organization of trainers sharing an interest in improving the quality and effectiveness of counseling and consultations given to clients about behavior change. Members are enrolled in MINT after a formal training of trainers program and continue to improve the quality of their workshops and consultations through a variety of professional development opportunities within the organization. . There are many ways to develop skilful MI practice abilities. This site features a variety of MINT trainers and training opportunities. MINT does not "endorse" these trainings. The expectation is that these trainings are high in quality, but MINT has no current mechanism to monitor or evaluate the workshops or the trainers who provide them. To help determine the best format for you, this page offers generic information on some training options. At the end there are suggested questions for you to ask a potential MI trainer to explore the fit for you or your organization.

On-site MI Training with Ongoing Consultation

Most MINT trainers share in the belief that ongoing on-site consultation is the best method to facilitate improvement in the practice of motivational interviewing and brief behavior consultations. The majority of MINT training is provided through private contracts of this nature.

Off Site/Workshop Training

Off-site introductory and advanced workshops and coursework provide another useful forum for improving practice. For many individuals this option represents an important source of learning.


A Brief Introduction to MI: Training Options


Individual Study and Self-Training

Perhaps the most common method by which clinicians explore MI is to study print materials and view training videotapes. Although this can provide some understanding of the basic approach, research by Miller and colleagues found that assigned self-training was not effective in improving clinical skillfulness in MI.

Introduction to Motivational Interviewing (1 hour to 1 day)

Training of up to one day can acquaint the audience with basic concepts and methods of MI, but is unlikely to increase the clinical skilfulness of participants in the practice of MI. The purpose of this type of workshop is to help participants determine how interested they are in learning more about MI. • a trainer may provide some simple exercises that a practitioner can try with patients to get a "taste" of an MI style. • The format may be primarily didactic, and may include live or videotaped demonstrations of MI.

Introduction to MI –Training Option (Introductory Workshop of 2-3 days)

With 16-24 hours of training contact time, it is possible to provide participants with an understanding of the spirit and method of MI, and to offer some practical experience in trying out this approach. A reasonable goal for this level of training is not MI proficiency, but rather to "learn how to learn" MI from ongoing practice. • Expect a mix of didactic presentation, demonstration, and practice exercises. • A limited number of participants per trainer allows some opportunity for observation and feedback. Limitations will vary depending on the precise goals and nature of the training, but we recommend no more than 40 participants per trainer. • Research and experience caution that attendees may leave a one-time introductory workshop overconfident in their mastery of MI. • Optimally, this length of training should be provided in blocks of 4 hours or so, with opportunity in between for participants to practice MI and come back with experience and problems (for example, 4/4/4: 4 sessions of 4 hours each spread over 4 months). • Many organizations choose to contract for full day concurrent workshops. While practical for attendees, this learning option reduces the applicability and retention of MI practice compared to dividing sessions with personal practice in between. Research indicates a reduction in MI skill level within 4 months (Miller & Mount, 2001). • Adding opportunities for personal performance feedback (e.g., from practice audiotapes) and/or individual coaching can significantly increase the effectiveness of training in helping participants to improve their clinical proficiency.

Growing Current MI Skills: Training Options

Intermediate and Advanced Training

Intermediate/Advanced Clinical Training (2-3 days). For those who have learned the fundamentals of MI and practiced it over time and now seek more advanced training in MI. • training should include analysis of practice audio or videotapes. • Expect more demonstration and practice exercises, and less didactic material. • focus in advanced training is on differentiating change talk from commitment language, and learning how to elicit and shape the two. • Prior proficiency and experience in the practice of MI are assumed. Ongoing consultation and supervision (open-ended). Research indicates feedback and individualized training are most effective for gaining MI skills. • This type of consultation can happen individually, within an organization, or contracted in addition to any workshop. • Many MINT trainers offer individual consultation in person, telephonically, or through computer mediated communication such as video calls, digital audio or video recordings, and online classes. This allows for the most thorough adaptation of MI methods to specifics of the individual situation.

Training for New Trainers (TNT, 3-4 days)

The TNT is designed for people who will help others to learn MI, working with a range of populations and settings. • Participants learn a broad and flexible set of training exercises that can be used to design training programs to meet the specific needs and levels of various trainee groups. • Those who complete MINT-sponsored TNT events are eligible for membership in the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). This TNT requires a formal application process. If you would like to be notified about upcoming TNT events please register using the ‘register’ link in the footer of this site. Other types of Training:

MI Supervisor Training (2-3 days)

These workshops are designed for people who have responsibility for the ongoing training and supervision of clinicians providing MI. • The goal is to prepare an on-site expert supervisor who can continue to guide and shape the practice of clinicians in a program or system. • Training includes expertise in systems for monitoring and coding session tapes for clinical practice. • Prior proficiency and experience in the practice of MI are assumed.

MI Coder Training (2-3 days)

These workshops focus on fidelity monitoring and process coding of MI as delivered in research protocols. • Training may focus on one or more systems including the MITI, MISC, or SCOPE. For more information on these coding instruments follow this link • Extensive opportunity for coding practice is necessary. Coders are not trained to actually deliver MI, but rather to code tapes reliably. • Clinical expertise is not required.

Evaluation of training

Although MINT does not formally evaluate workshops offered by MINT members at present, we remain interested in promoting quality training and welcome the feedback of any participants who have attended a training hosted by a MINT member.


Some thoughts on hiring an MI trainer


Questions you may wish to ask potential MI trainers before hiring them.

These suggestions were submitted by MINT members Carolina Yahne and Denise Ernst.

  1. Our audience will be composed of xx (substance abuse nurses; diabetes educators; probation officers; graduate students in psychology; HIV counselors; public health doctors; street outreach workers, etc). What experience do you have working with trainees such as ours and what are some of the issues you see related to training our type of group?
  2. Our trainees primarily work with patients/people with X issues. What experience have you had with such issues?
  3. In what ways can you tailor your training and materials for us? For example, can you train to a protocol that is already developed? Can you modify the materials to be focused on (diabetes, etc.)? How can you make the exercises relevant to our trainees?
  4. If a trainee presented you with this kind of challenge (xx), how would you handle it?
  5. Were you trained to be a MI trainer or is this a training you have developed on your own? How can I verify this?
  6. In addition to your training, have you written/published anything about MI or related issues? How may I get a copy?
  7. Can you send us a sample of training objectives and an agenda?
  8. Is there anyone who can provide a reference based on a past training you've provided?
  9. If we are dissatisfied with your performance, to whom may we give feedback?
  10. What languages do you train in? May I get a reference from someone whom you trained in X language?
  11. How flexible are you about scheduling training? For example, if we are only able to make staff available during staff meetings once a month, what can you do?
  12. What options do you provide for follow-up training if it is needed? 13. How do you go about making your training culturally, ethnically, and gender-sensitive?
  13. What are your fees? What expenses do you anticipate?
  14. What work do you do other than this training? Do you work in a health care setting, in research, or doing something else?
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