Motivational Interviewing: A tool for change in Criminal Justice Practice

Course overview

Motivational Interviewing (MI) has its roots in the treatment of substance use problems. It was first developed for use with people who were apparently ‘unmotivated’ and ‘highly resistant’ to change. It gave professionals an approach which works with rather than against a person’s own ambivalence about making change. MI has subsequently been used in a range of settings to successfully help people make change. A few examples include adherence to medication, weight loss, eating disorders, smoking cessation and offending behaviour.

Though rooted in therapeutic work, there is a close link between all the above settings and the work of professionals in the Criminal Justice System. MI is relevant to police and probation work which requires rapport and trust building as it seeks to work collaboratively, rather than in a confrontational or directive manner, to evoke a person’s own motivation to change behaviour and attitudes.

MI can help Criminal Justice professionals develop and enhance interviewing, rapport and trust building skills essential to many aspects of their work, from conducting investigation interviews and crisis negotiation to dealing with ambivalent offenders, witnesses or victims of crime. It is designed to overcome so-called ‘resistance’, hostility and denial in an ethical manner and is equally useful in community or custody settings. It has the potential to have a positive influence on critical incident and resource management as well as reducing repeat victim instances. Lastly, it is also applicable as a tool for intervention work where a change of behaviour and attitude is sought.

This 2-day course is designed specifically for CJS professionals and seeks to equip them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to begin to practice Motivational Interviewing in their work environment. It is relevant to police, probation, social service and other professionals including intervention officers working with people to change behaviours and attitudes.

By the end of the course, participants will have had the opportunity to:

  • Learn the core principles of Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Explore the application of strategic and tactical use of MI in the CJS field
  • Learn how to engage rapidly – what helps and what gets in the way
  • Understand how to recognise and work with ambivalence when dealing with witnesses/offenders or others in the CJS
  • Identify instances of ‘Change’ Talk and ‘Sustain’ Talk with witnesses /offenders and be able to respond to these to make co-operation more likely
  • Have opportunities to practice MI skills in a protective environment

The course will take place on Tuesday 28 - Wednesday 29 January 2020 from 9.30am - 4.30pm

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
2 days
Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, NW3 5BA
Admission status:
28 January 2020 09:30 to 29 January 2020 16:30

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Motivational interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a person-centred counselling style for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change.

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