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The Spirit of Motivational Interviewing: Engaging Youth in Substance Use Treatment

March 24, 2020 . 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm



This training provides an overview of Motivational Interviewing (MI), an evidence-based counseling method to help people resolve ambivalent feelings in order to find the internal motivation they need to change behavior (e.g. engage in substance use treatment).

Through hands-on activities and exercises, this training examines the reasons why people feel motivated to make big changes in their lives. We will focus on understanding the principles of Motivational Interviewing to elicit behavior change. We will review the four processes of MI (Engaging, Focusing, Evoking, and Planning) and then delve into the use of MI methods – using Open-ended questions, Affirmations, Reflective Listening, and Summarization (OARS) – to help clients explore and resolve ambivalence about behavior change and move toward action.

This training is aimed towards anyone working with youth and young adults; prior knowledge is not required.


By the end of the training, participants will be able:

  1. To recognize the stages of change and identify ways to recognize and elicit change talk (vs. sustain talk) when talking with young people about substance use and recovery.
  2. To understand the spirit of Motivational Interviewing, recognizing the importance of a therapeutic partnership, acceptance, compassion, and evocation.
  3. To learn about the four processes of Motivational Interviewing: Planning, Evoking, Focusing, and Engaging.
  4. To learn creative, evocative ways to ask open-ended questions and use affirmations within the context of Motivational Interviewing techniques.
  5. To identify the difference between simple and complex reflections, and to learn ways to use reflective listening and summary statements to further elicit change talk.


Office of Youth and Young Adult Services
AdCare Educational Institute
Institute for Health and Recovery


The Beechwood Hotel
363 Plantation Street
Worcester, MA 01605 United States
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