Professional Certificate of Completion in Motivational Interviewing
Get the knowledge and practice experience you need for successful MI practice
At a glance
What: 2-tiered professional certificate of completion in motivational interviewing
Spring series, Mar–May
Fall series, Sept–Nov
Level 1: 2 days • Level 2: 3 days • All days 9am-4pm • See below for full details
Where: The Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI map»
Instructors: Laura A. Saunders (MSSW), Scott Caldwell (MA, CSAC)
Questions? Email Flo Hilliard or call
What is Motivational Interviewing?
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based approach to promoting positive behavior change.
Years of research has shown Motivational Interviewing to be a well-established approach across a wide range of settings, problems, and populations. It is most effective for clients ambivalent about changing or initially not even considering making changes.
Why attend these programs?
Upon completing all classes and audio recordings, you earn a Professional Certificate of Completion in Motivational Interviewing from UW-Madison Continuing Studies.
MI helps reduce burnout and stress by minimizing situations that lead to power struggles with your clients. Effective MI is only possible with dedicated effort leading to a complex skill set. Training research in MI shows that the traditional “one shot” workshop format is only a start. Beginning workshops do little to promote truly proficient practice. This MI professional certificate programgoes well beyond elementary knowledge. Both Level 1 and Level 2 courses utilize best training principles, competency measures, and expert instruction to help you achieve high MI proficiency and successful professional outcomes.
Your instructors are members of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and have provided UW-Madison Continuing Studies MI training every spring and fall for the past 5 years. Participants consistently rate these trainings at high levels of satisfaction.
What is the course design?
Level 1: Application in Diverse Settings
This 2-day training introduces MI theory and research, including how and why behavior changes. Learn the basic practice elements of MI and the fundamental processes of engaging, focusing, evoking, and planning with clients. We also contrast MI with other methods of behavior change. Through discussion, videos, and experiential exercises, you begin developing your MI skills.
Level 2: Advancing Practice
The Level 2 Training is 3 days long and requires submission of 3 audio recordings. This level is limited to 35 people. In these 3 days of training you will continue to build your MI skills and design your own learning plan based on feedback from your first recording. Your skills will grow as you learn and submit each audio recording for feedback.
Successful completion of the certificate program requires attendance of all on-site workshop training days (5 days total) within a 1 year period and submission of 3 audio recorded practice samples.
About audio recordings
Why we do audio recordings: There is no better way to assure fidelity to motivational interviewing than through the direct observation of practice samples. The capture of an audio recording allows an expert to provide the learner with feedback. Without feedback, it’s hard for the learner to know what to do more or less of. We know that self-reported assessment of one’s own ability in MI is not correlated with expert assessment.
What you submit: You submit 3 audio recordings. Recordings 1 and 2 are recorded at the end of the day when you attend training. You pair up with someone else in the training and record a MI adherent discussion about a real behavior change. You receive written feedback at the workshops for audio recordings 1 and 2. For the third recording, feedback will be sent via email.
Permissions: Please get permission to record a conversation from a client or supervisee. In order to give you structured, objective feedback, we need at least 15-20 minutes of tape. There needs to be a clear targeted change (attitude, behavior or thought) being discussed to appropriately measure your use of MI.
Feedback: Feedback is provided within 2 weeks for tapes submitted by the due date. Feedback is an important part of the process. What we find is that participants also need coaching to reach proficiency in MI. Each recording is reviewed by the trainers using the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) instrument.
Confidentiality: Your submissions are recordings of your work. All recordings will be destroyed at the end of the program period.
Questions? Email Flo Hilliard or call