"Chris is an inspirational teacher, with both great ‘stage presence’ and an ability to work and listen on a 1:1 level too.

Each time I get the chance to attend the Motivational Interviewing seminar I leave with a new nugget that is of immense practical use in my day to day work"

Dr Pippa Stables, GP Course Organiser, Bristol

Motivational Interviewing for Coaches and Health Professionals

How can we help our clients deepen their determination and confidence to make changes, working through mixed feelings and other sources of resistance in the way? Motivational Interviewing (MI), an evidence-based approach widely used in health psychology, helps us do this. This course draws on the updated 3rd Edition of Miller and Rollnick’s classic text, Motivational Interviewing.

The aims of this short course are:

  • To introduce MI as way of helping clients become clearer about what they really want, work through mixed feelings and harness their deeper intrinsic motivations for change.

  • To introduce psychological models for understanding resistance to change, so that you can more easily work with, and through, this.

  • To describe, model and teach Motivational Interviewing strategies you can use in your consultations.

The course involves the following four elements:
  • six weekly webinars held on Tuesdays for 90 minutes starting at 7.30pm UK time, 2.30pm US ET, 11.30am US PT, 8.30 Europe CET

  • Access to online tutorials that summarise key learning points, link to online video resources and demonstrate interventions

  • An online discussion forum for the class giving an opportunity to raise questions and explore issues

  • An optional practice element involving a partnered exercise with another participant each week (at mutually agreed time).


Course details

The next course commences on Tuesday 18th March 2014 at 19.30 UK time, 14.30 US ET, 11.30 US PT, 20.30 Europe CET
The learning objectives for each session are as follows:


Week 1: Introduction to Motivational Interviewing.
Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Describe what motivational interviewing is and outline its four key processes, as described in the updated 3rd Edition of Miller and Rollnick’s classic text Motivational Interviewing.

  • Recognise how our conversations with clients can influence both their resistance to, and enthusiasm for, health-related behaviour change

  • Be aware of the evidence-base for Motivational Interviewing and recognise how this has helped MI become one of the most widely used approaches in health psychology

  • Explain how the Stages of Change model can be used as a map that helps us understand the process of change, and the places where change may become blocked

Week 2: Engaging
Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to: 
  • Understand how the motivational interviewing approach can help you engage clients well and build rapport, particularly through expression of accurate empathy.

  • Use Motivational Interviewing to strengthen your capacity to engage clients even when there’s resistance. This helps protect us from falling out with, and losing, clients.

  • Explain how resistance can be used as a signal that helps us attune to our clients, rather than seen as an obstacle to be pushed through.

  • Demonstrate specific coaching/consulting micro-skills that help us engage with clients, including the use of reflection, summarising, double-sided reflections and the use of evocative questions.

Week 3: Focussing
Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Describe ways of helping a client clarify their goals and direction, selecting from a range of options to narrow down to a specific target for change.

  • Understand about the risks of a ‘premature focus trap’, where narrowing down too quickly misses the issue the client is most motivated to address.

  • Draw out a client’s understanding of the issue they face, finding out whether they would like more information, so that information giving from you is well targeted and therefore likely to be better received.

Week 4: Evoking
Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to: 

  • Describe how motivation for change arises from discrepancy, which is the uncomfortable awareness of a mismatch between actions and values

  • Demonstrate specific coaching/consultation micro-skills that help your clients find and express their deep intrinsic motivations for change (i.e. ‘the want behind the should’). These micro-skills include the ability to elicit self-motivational statements, expression of advanced accurate empathy, paradoxical reflections and expanded temporal framing

  • Support your clients to challenge themselves by drawing out the discrepancies that motivate them to change

  • Support clients feel supported to explore their concerns about their own health-threatening behaviours without feeling judged or shamed

Week 5: Planning
Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Describe how to support your clients to develop a change plan and strengthen their intention to act on it

  • Demonstrate coaching/consultation micro-skills that help clients mobilize their enthusiasm and commitment to take specific action steps.

  • Notice reluctance in follow-through when this occurs, being able to draw out and work with mixed feelings and sources of resistance.

  • Identify ways to support persistence in, and maintenance of, change, so that clients can build on the steps they’ve taken.

Week 6: Applying Motivational Interviewing in Your Work
Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to: 

  • Distinguish between the spirit, the principles and the techniques of MI

  • Demonstrate how the practice of MI can help clients find their enthusiasm and confidence for health-promoting lifestyle change even these initially appear to be lost

  • Describe common pitfalls of practice, and demonstrate ways of preventing these

About the tutor

Trained initially in medicine and psychology, Chris Johnstone became involved in coaching for health and wellbeing when he pioneered the role of stress management clinics in GP surgeries in the early 1990’s and discovered Motivational Interviewing in 1992. Much influenced by his training in Humanistic Psychology and Motivational Interviewing, he applied a health-coaching model when working over many years in an NHS addictions team.

He has offered trainings in Motivational Interviewing since 1998 and Positive Psychology since 2005, when he set up one of the first Positive Psychology adult education programmes in Europe. Working as a Senior Teaching Fellow at Bristol University, he has played a leading role in training health professionals in health behaviour change. In 2010, he was included in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List, which identifies people making significant contributions to wellbeing in the UK.


How to book

The course costs £150 (approx $250 or €191) or £95 (approx $159 or €111) if you are on a low income and ask for a concession. You can pay via paypal using the button below. For more details or enquiries, please email Chris Johnstone at this link.






Motivational Interviewing