Motivational Interviewing:  Foundation Skills – PD Review

Recently I attended the 2 day workshop titled “Motivational Interviewing: Foundation Skills” that was hosted by Helen Mentha of Mentha Consulting at Ceres in Brunswick and I am going to make a big statement and that this was one of the best courses that I have been to because I was introduced to a style of communication that I feel has a massive place in the world of allied health and can be one of those big game changers in how we work with our clients with regards helping them facilitate better change in their health and wellness.

I was first introduced to the term Motivational Interviewing whilst undertaking a Wellness Coaching Course earlier this year and it was during this course I became more intrigued by it and how I could use it within my everyday practice.  As the world would have it, I must have been destined to attend this course because shortly after when training with my friends (one of whom is a psych and the other an exercise physiologist) they both told me about MI and how this great Psych Helen Mentha runs 2 day workshops and that it is a must attend.  I only wish I had of been introduced to this during my osteopathic studies many years ago or much earlier on in my career.

So what is Motivational Interviewing?  Miller and Rollnick (2013) describe MI as “a collaborative, goal-orientated style of communication with a particular attention to the language of change.  It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the persons own reasons for change and an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion”.

The core framework for motivational interviewing is made up of 4 elements (spirit, skills, process and targeting change).  The spirit of MI is such that there must be partership, acceptance, compassion and evocation.  MI communication skills involve the use of open questions, affirming , reflection and summarising the conversation and the process should engage, focus, evoke and plan when targeting change.

Over the course of the two days Helen introduced us to the spirit of MI and we discussed and practised the skills of MI in group activities in the context of ourselves and those individuals within our groups.  We worked on consistently on developing and practicing our listening and reflection skills and how we can move towards steering the conversation to change talk rather than sustain talk.  Something that I feel we (well I have been guilty of this in my consults) regularly do with our clients.

For those individuals working within the allied health setting, I could not recommend this course more highly and would suggest that those interested in developing their communication skills look to attend one in the near future if you can.


This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy. Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD leading Osteopathy clinics. At the clinic we treat a wide range of clients, ranging from the office worker, exercise enthusiast to athlete. We have 3 experienced osteopaths working across both of the clinics. The Melbourne City CBD clinic is located at 29 Somerset Place (basement), close to the corner of Elizabeth St and Little Bourke in the Melbourne City CBD. Our premises adjoin the Jon Weller Personal Training Studio, a fully-equipped training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials or specific training programs and rehabilitation. The Docklands clinic is located at 717 Bourke St (Ground Floor), beneath the Channel 9 building near the walkway from Southern Cross Train Station to Etihad Stadium. Our premises adjoin Pilates on Bourke, a fully-equipped pilates and yoga training space which allows clients to combine their osteopathy treatment with exercise tutorials, pilates or specific training programs and rehabilitation. To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment at Principle Four Osteopathy, please book online or call 03 9670 9290.


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