Difficult to Reach Patients and Clients: How Motivational Interviewing Helps

Difficult to Reach Patients and Clients: How Motivational Interviewing Helps



There is increasing interest in whole person, integrated services for people with general and mental health needs as well as addiction services. Whether a helper is a physician, nurse, case manager, peer support worker, recovery coach, judge, probation officer, child protective services or welfare worker, good outcomes require the patient, client and consumer to be an active part of a change process.

Chronic disease treatment accounts for over 75% of national healthcare expenditures; and on average, 50% of people with chronic diseases do not comply with their treatment plan. Individual lifestyle determines 50% of health status and 60-75% of health costs.  Most people who need addiction and mental health services do not first access specialty behavioral health services. There is an urgent need for general health, peer support and recovery coaches, criminal justice, child protective services, schools and those in other settings where people first present to know how to engage people in a change process.

This one-day training focuses on the first process of motivational interviewing (MI): engagement. It will provide concepts and techniques on ways to engage people into treatment and increase their interest in changing.  Participants identify common clinician traps that can lead to disengaged interactions and practice client-centered strategies for a collaborative working relationship.


Participants will

  1. Identify person-centered strategies for developing a collaborative working relationship.
  2. Discuss traps that lead to disengaged interactions.
  3. Apply engagement strategies in different health and case management settings consistent with motivational interviewing.
  4. Demonstrate using the core interviewing skills of MI to promote engagement

Workshop Agenda

8:30 AM        Registration

9:00 AM        A.  Understanding how people change

  • Stages of change
  • Change talk, Sustain talk and Discord
  • Righting Reflex

      B.  Spirit of MI

  • A taste of MI
  • Partnership, Acceptance, Compassion, Evocation

10:30 AM      Break

10:45 AM      C.  Engaging and the therapeutic alliance

  • Four fundamental processes of MI

                        D.  What promotes disengagement

  • Common traps

12:00 Noon    Lunch

1:15 PM          E.  Empathy and Reflective Listening

  • Being an effective listener - closed ended questions
  • Empathy and forming reflections

2:30 PM          Break

2:45 PM          F.  Open questions, affirmations and summaries

  • Using OARS exercise
  • Applying MI in your setting back at work

4:00 PM          Adjourn