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Northwest ATTC & Tri-County Behavioral Health Providers Association Motivational Interviewing Teaching & Coaching Collaborative

March 27, 2019
Meg Brunner, MLIS

Motivational interviewing (MI) is the number one training request the Northwest ATTC receives from our region. Providers are embracing this evidence-based practice and, at the same time, are also struggling to access training and on-going coaching to promote staff proficiency.

The challenge leaders report is: how do we build internal staff capacity to support this evidence-based practice and fully implement it in our organizations?

In response to this need, the Northwest ATTC, in collaboration with the Tri-County Behavioral Health Providers Association in Oregon, is providing a year-long Motivational Interviewing Teaching and Coaching Learning Collaborative. Eighteen clinical supervisors from fifteen behavioral health organizations are participating in this intensive technical assistance project aimed at developing their MI teaching and coaching skills. The goal of the project, which is funded by Washington and Multnomah County, is to increase internal staff capacity for teaching and coaching staff in MI.

Participant selection included nomination by each organizations’ CEO and submission of a written application and sample MI audio-session. The project kick-off included a 1.5-day training on teaching and coaching MI and securing organizational buy-in and support.

At monthly learning collaborative meetings, participants receive a 90-minute module focused on a specific MI skill such as reflective listening, developing discrepancy, or eliciting change talk, along with all the necessary handouts and materials for them to subsequently present the skill module to a select group of staff at their organization between learning sessions. Staff members are encouraged to practice each MI skill between sessions and report back on their experiences.

Participants report deepening their own MI skills through this process as well as seeing significant MI skills development in staff members.

The value of this project is evidenced in these comments from participants:

The training series has helped me advocate for integration of the practice and spirit of MI varying levels of our office. Beyond that, it’s been really amazing to comb through my own understanding of the practice and better support clinicians that I supervise to help people change by being able to teach the principles more effectively and confidently. – Participant from Morrison Kids

This training brings MI to the fore as a process oriented, respectful form of therapy, and highlights the cooperation between provider and client that makes for a great treatment bond. –Participant from Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare

The Northwest ATTC plans to replicate this project in the future across Region 10 and is excited to be able to support this training and technical assistance need in our region!

For more information, or to find out how you can be a part of one of our MI technical assistance projects, visit our NWATTC Motivational Interviewing website.

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The opinions expressed herein are the views of the authors and do not reflect the official position of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), SAMHSA, CSAT or the ATTC Network. No official support or endorsement of DHHS, SAMHSA, or CSAT for the opinions of authors presented in this e-publication is intended or should be inferred.