January 2021

Families First News

Learning & development

Motivational Interviewing - Free training

Following on from the success of the previous release of dates for Motivational Interview training, we are pleased to announce that we have been able to secure some additional FREE training sessions for our Families First partners.

The target audience for these sessions are practitioners from all agencies working with children, young people and their families and the aim is to gain an overview of a motivational skills approach.

The Objectives are:

  • To gain a practical understanding of Motivational Interviewing as a strengths-based approach 
  • To understand the cycle of behaviour change, and how it can help make conversations more productive 
  • To explore situations where there is resistance and ambivalence to change

The half days sessions will be run on the following dates:-

  • Weds 21st April 2021, 1:30pm to 4pm
  • Thurs 20th May 2021, 1:30pm to 4pm
  • Weds 22nd Sept, 9:30am to 12noon
  • Mon 15th Nov, 1:30pm to 4pm

Spaces are limited, so please book early by emailing : hscpcourses@hertfordshire.gov.uk quoting FF Partnership, and cascade to your teams where appropriate.

In addition we also felt you may find the following of interest:-


You lot don’t care! You’re going to take our kids away and you get a bonus for that’

‘Why aren’t you going to the neighbours down the road, they’re much worse than us!’

‘What do you know? Do you have kids of your own?’

 Are these kinds of ‘heart-sink’ phrases familiar? Do you or your staff frequently find themselves on the defensive as practitioners or as managers? In an environment of diminishing resources and increasing demand on services, we need a fresh and imaginative approach.

Motivational Interviewing is a framework of intervention, brought together in the 1990s by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick. It is an approach that is designed to work with those most resistant to change or stuck in entrenched behaviours. The premise of Motivational Interviewing is that motivation is not a ‘fixed state’ that a person does, or does not have. Rather, motivation ebbs and flows depending on many factors such as circumstances, mood and so forth. The skilled practitioner (or manager) will harness whatever very little motivation there might be, and help it move in the right direction. The Motivational Interviewing approach borrows in from other sources such as Carl Rogers’ person-centred counselling; Socratic thinking and Prochaska & DiClemente’s Cycle of Behaviour change.

The key principles are:

Engagement with the client, rather than doing something to them – i.e. change cannot be forced or pushed on to someone. It has to be internal for the client to be meaningful and long term.

Rolling with resistance (NB this is not rolling over or being passive)

Express empathy

Avoid conflict

Developing discrepancy in client’s thinking

Support self-responsibility

Clients are often stuck or ambivalent about making changes for themselves. Practitioners can easily collude with this ‘stuckness’, or out of frustration try to push people to action, which only increases resistance. Motivational Interviewing helps to make the practitioner aware of these tendencies, and give them options to work more powerfully in ways that create more possibility of change for their clients.

The half-day interactive webinar will give a practical taster session into Motivational Interviewing, and its potential power to engage with people meaningfully, rather than do something to them. There will be opportunities for demonstration, discussion, and questions, conducted in ways that model the principles of a motivational skills approach. We will explore together how we can all nurture even the smallest steps of progress, with the emphasis on encouragement and trying to bring out the best in others as well as ourselves.

See below for diagram: The Cycle of Change  


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