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PSY5020 Motivational Interviewing

Semester 1, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Psychology
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andrea Quinn
Moderator: Tony Machin


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCAD or PDPP


Motivational interviewing is recognised as one of the most effective approaches to intervention with substance using populations. Developed by Miller and Rollnick (2002) in the 1970s and ‘80s, it has evolved from its origins in addiction treatment to be widely applied in the helping professions, and with health behaviour in particular. The motivational interviewing approach incorporates directive and client-centred techniques, which are designed to encourage resolution of ambivalence in order to facilitate behaviour change. It is considered by its authors to be transtheoretical, although later authors have linked the spirit of the approach to self-determination theory. As an orientation towards clients and as a practical method, motivational interviewing is a core skill for working with substance using populations.


This course is divided into three parts. The first part concerns foundation principles of motivational interviewing, and includes the transtheoretical model of behaviour change, the stages of change, ambivalence and resistance. The second part of the course focuses on skills development. Students are guided through the key practical elements of how to assess an individual's stage of change, and strategies for responding to clients at each level of the change cycle. Further skills development includes recognition of and response to client resistance, using motivational interviewing techniques. The final aspect of the course pertains to ethics and culture, both of which are either mandated or recommended aspects of training in the health professions. The knowledge components of the course are provided in a structured 10-module format, while the skills component is completed on an ongoing basis, leading up to submission of the assessable skills demonstration task at the end of semester.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of Prochaska and DiClements’s Stages of Change model as it relates to substances misuse;
  2. demonstrate knowledge of ambivalence and resistance as expected elements in the change process;
  3. demonstrate ability to recognise client cues for ‘change talk’ based on the Stages of Change model;
  4. demonstrate ability to establish a client’s stage of change based on the Stages of Change model;
  5. demonstrate ability to respond appropriately to a client’s change cues based on the identified stage of change;
  6. demonstrate ability to complete a motivational interview counselling intervention with a client.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Motivation and behaviour change 5.00
2. The transtheoretical model of change 10.00
3. Microcounselling skills 10.00
4. Brief intervention models 10.00
5. Ambivalence and resistance 10.00
6. Establishing clients’ stage of change 10.00
7. Responding to clients’ stage of change 10.00
8. Identifying the importance of change, and building clients’ confidence for change 15.00
9. ‘Rolling with resistance’ 10.00
10. Ethics and culture in motivational interviewing 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Miller, WR & Rollnick, S 2002, Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change, 2nd edn, Guildford Press, New York, NY.
    (ISBN-10: 1-57230-563-0.)
  • Other resources and readings will be supplied via the course home page.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Directed Study 62.00
Private Study 78.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Case Report Assignment 100 50 25 May 2013
Online Quiz 1 20 10 12 Jun 2013 (see note 1)
Online Quiz 2 20 10 12 Jun 2013
Online Quiz 3 20 10 12 Jun 2013
Online Quiz 4 20 10 12 Jun 2013
Online Quiz 5 20 10 12 Jun 2013

  1. On-line quizzes will be released on the course home page and can be completed at any time during the semester. Students may attempt each quiz twice, using all the readings and resources available, and their recorded marks will be the highest marks achieved for each quiz on the last day of the last teaching week of the semester. See assessment section of the Introductory Book for further details and the grading rationale.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is students' responsibility to participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them (such as Study Book activities and practical work), and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each of the assessment items to be awarded a passing grade in the course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    No penalties applied if the required conditions are met as specified in the Introductory Book. If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the Examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course. The term ‘weighted’ refers to assessment items that contribute to the calculation of the final grade for a course, i.e., have a non-zero weighting.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be despatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Course Examiner.

  3. The Course Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  5. Students will require access to email and internet access to USQConnect for this course. The onus is on students to ensure internet access is of sufficient speed and quality to accommodate the on-line quizzes.

  6. This course does not have a Residential School.