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Improving Motivational Interviewing Skills

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  • Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique used to support patients as they adopt behaviors consistent with positive health change. There is data to support its effectiveness in a variety of health care settings and with a variety of health challenges. MI involves assisting the client to make lasting behavioral changes by encouraging discussion focused on accepting and adopting new or different behaviours. Several techniques are used, including open-ended questions, affirmations, summaries and reflective listening. Reflective listening is an important component of this method and appears to be more difficult for clinicians to learn. The current recommended structure for MI training is a two-day workshop with follow-up coaching and practice, which is often too intensive to be feasible for busy clinicians and students. This study will examine an alternative teaching method by incorporating standardized clients (actors trained to simulate clients who are resistant to change) role-plays, as well as traditional lectures and learning groups into a module delivered to health science students. Pre and post measures of motivational interviewing skills will be obtained via two validated methods: analysis of written responses to clinical scenarios and analysis of video taped interactions. Measures will be analyzed to examine the effectiveness of the above training components. The results of this study will aid in the planning of training sessions for clinicians in the area of motivational interviewing by providing more efficient and effective ways in which to learn the skills necessary for this technique.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International