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COU8012 Motivational Interviewing

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Student contribution band : Professional Pathway Psych
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 17 May 2022


Examiner: Rebecca Lane


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCAD or GDCN or MPPS or GCCO or MCCO


Motivational interviewing is recognised as one of the most effective approaches to intervention with substance-using populations. Developed by Miller and Rollnick (2013) 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. The motivational interviewing approach incorporates a guiding communication style and client-centred techniques, which are designed to encourage resolution of ambivalence in order to facilitate behaviour change. 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 exploring the underlying spirit of motivational interviewing and core counselling skills required, such as using open questions and reflections. The second part of the course focuses on the four processes in the `dance' of motivational interviewing, in which you engage the client, find a direction for your work together, evoke reasons for change, and then move into planning. 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 task at the end of semester.

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of ambivalence and ‘sustain talk' as expected elements in the change process;
  2. Use the core counselling skills of motivational interviewing: asking open questions, affirming the client, reflecting and summarising;
  3. Apply knowledge of the four processes of motivational interviewing;
  4. Complete a motivational interview counselling intervention with a client;
  5. Critically reflect on their performance in adhering to the motivational interview framework and identify areas for improvement;
  6. Discuss ethical and cultural issues in the application of motivational interviewing.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to Motivational Interviewing 5.00
2. Core skills of motivational interviewing 10.00
3. The processes of motivational interviewing part one: engaging 15.00
4. The processes of motivational interviewing part two: focusing 10.00
5. The processes of motivational interviewing part three: evoking 15.00
6. The processes of motivational interviewing part four: planning 10.00
7. Supporting change in everyday practice 15.00
8. Motivational interviewing in everyday practice 10.00
9. Ethics and culture in motivational interviewing 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Miller, WR & Rollnick, S 2013, Motivational Interviewing:, Helping People Change, 3rd edn, Guildford Press, New York, NY.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Oral Presentation (ind, grp, mltmd) No 25 1,2
Assignments Practical Demonstration No 50 1,2,3,4,5
Assignments Written Quiz No 25 1,2,3,6
Date printed 17 May 2022