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Continuing Studies

Motivational Interviewing: Advanced Skills Practice

continuingstudies.wisc.edu/1518-C-PDAS See upcoming dates


This 20-hour course is designed for learners who have intermediate knowledge and skills needed for the practice of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and want to strengthen their existing skillset. Participate in four, 3-hour, live online, instructor-led sessions that will include lecture, discussion and small group practice sessions. Enhance your learning with 6-hours of required independent coursework. Improve your MI practice through peer (one session) and instructor (two sessions) feedback from standardized client interviews. Course registration includes the textbook Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: A Practitioner Workbook by David B. Rosengren and access to an online learning management system.



At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Practice using MITI 4.2.1 coding manual for personal and peer feedback and growth.
  • Apply in-class knowledge and skills practice to peer and standardized client interviews.
  • Develop strong skills in the recognition of client change talk, sustain talk and discord.
  • Employ strategies for effective responses to quell discord, soften sustain talk and cultivate change talk.
  • Distinguish signs of readiness for planning from preparatory change language and employ strategies for testing the waters of change.
  • Design a personal MI competency-based professional development plan.
  • Outline a plan for the implementation of MI in your practice setting.


Intermediate to advanced.

Overview: Extra Information

This course is designed for participants who have either:

  1. completed the DCS Motivational Interviewing Certificate Program and have experience using MI in a professional setting, or
  2. meet the following minimum course requirements:
    • At least three (3) days of cumulative MI training
    • Experience using MI in a professional setting
    • Understand MI theory and practice, including the following terms and concepts:
      • Sustain Talk
      • Change Talk
      • Ambivalence
      • Discord
      • Dealing with Discord
      • Definition of MI
      • Motivation: where it comes from
      • Helper's role in change process
      • Righting Reflex
      • Amplified Reflection
      • Complex Reflection
      • Simple Reflection
      • Double-Sided Reflection
      • Metaphor
      • Affirmation vs. Compliments
      • Focusing
      • Engaging
      • Planning
      • Knowing the Why vs. the How
      • Affective/Feeling Reflection
      • Coming Alongside
      • Evoking
      • Evocation
      • Partnership
      • Acceptance
      • Emphasizing Autonomy
      • Seeking Collaboration
      • Compassion

Course Outline


Day 1

  • Apply the relational skills of Motivational Interviewing to patient interactions
  • Observe and recognize fundamental skills: listening, open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, summarization, seeking collaboration and emphasizing autonomy

Day 2

  • Describe the MI practice elements at the highest levels of competency
  • Employ knowledge of relational elements to feedback and coaching with class peers

Day 3

  • Identify situations where focusing goes off track
  • Construct effective and highly rated responses to different client cues (readiness, ambivalence and discordance)
  • Employ knowledge of technical elements to feedback and coaching with class peers
  • Practice coding using your own peer interview

Day 4

  • Prepare to us MI skills for planning in real practice settings
  • Design a plan for advancing individual MI skill
  • Apply course knowledge to a final standardized client interview

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 20
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 2
American Psychological Association - Continuing Education Credit 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Substance Abuse Counselors - Continuing Education Credit Hours 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Marriage and Family Therapists - Continuing Education Credit Hours 20
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Social Workers - Continuing Education Credit Hours 20

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Upcoming dates

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Program Questions?

Contact Ashley Kuehl at ashley.kuehl@wisc.edu or 608-265-4267

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructor(s)

Laura Saunders

(MSSW, UW-Madison) is the Great Lakes Addiction, Mental Health and Prevention Technology Transfer Center state coordinator. Her position is housed at UW-Madison where she's worked since 1998. Since 2001, Laura has designed and facilitated more than 300 motivational interviewing trainings in multiple formats. Laura is an experienced coder and has provided feedback and coaching to hundreds of learners. She joined the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) in 2006 and is an active member of the Wisconsin MINT group.

Melody Cole

(MS, RDN, CD, CDE, Washington State University) is the Motivational Interviewing (MI) Trainer at University of Wisconsin Health. As an experienced healthcare clinician, Melody has practiced MI with individuals and groups in clinical settings since 2008. For over a decade she has developed and facilitated MI trainings for a variety of learners including healthcare providers, business leaders, and organizations. She became a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of trainers in Berlin, Germany in 2015; and continues to be an active member of the International MI Leadership and Medical groups and Wisconsin MINT community.