Motivational Interviewing: changing relationships with alcohol use - two days

Motivational Interviewing uses a conversational approach which works with people’s motivations to change behaviour.


Motivational Interviewing has its origins in the alcohol field in the 1980s and is one of the best validated and widely used of all psychosocial interventions for alcohol use problems (Miller & Rose, 2009). Dr William Miller observed practice where people accessing treatment and support were often subject to authoritarian and confrontational approaches which resulted in people feeling let down by treatment. Consequently, he developed Motivational Interviewing alongside Stephen Rollnick. (Motivational Interviewing. Helping People Change, 3rd ed Miller and Rollnick 2013)

The Motivational Interviewing practitioner on this two-day course is trained to use a guiding style to empower the alcohol user to consider both their internal motivations for change as well as the impact of external factors (family, friends, society and media). The alcohol user benefits from this approach through understanding their alcohol use and being placed in control of their decision-making as the expert of their situation. There is a strong focus on the practitioner and alcohol user working in collaboration in moving towards change, whether that be abstinence or reduction in alcohol use to less harmful levels.

Course aims

To enable workers engaged in the alcohol sector to develop knowledge, skills and confidence in using Motivational Interviewing to enable behaviour change in clients and groups.

Learning objectives

  • Identify the research that underpins the value of Motivational Interviewing in the alcohol sector
  • Identify the motivators involved in alcohol use
  • Demonstrate the spirit, processes and core skills of Motivational Interviewing
  • Identify the relationship between Motivational Interviewing, Brief Interventions and the Transtheoretical Model of Change
  • Explore Ambivalence and Discord and their impact on behaviour change
  • Understand Motivational Interviewing in a group work context

This course will benefit practitioners by:

  • Improving knowledge, skills and confidence in enabling clients to talk about and implement behaviour change
  • Using a tool box of strategies and techniques based on Motivational Interviewing to help work with individuals and groups

This course could benefit your clients by:

  • Increasing confidence and self-esteem to change their alcohol use
  • Enabling change for alcohol use and other potentially related behaviours such as smoking, drugs and physical activity

Who should attend?

Practitioners in the drugs and alcohol field, providing 1-1 group work and drop in sessions. You will benefit from a practical introduction to the theory and practice of Motivational Interviewing which you will then be able to put into practice in your professions:

  • Drug and alcohol workers
  • Social workers
  • Multi-agency team workers (early help)
  • Residential social care workers
  • Hospital staff
  • Homeless hostel workers

Contact us today to find out more about our training and services and to book onto one of our courses.

Get in touch
  • Each course can be delivered online or face-to-face and will last one day unless specified
  • Up to 16 participants can attend
  • Handouts and a PowerPoint presentation will be provided to support the course
  • The course requires a room large enough for 16 people to work flexibly in groups
  • A flipchart stand, pens and paper is required plus a projector and wall or screen for projecting an image
  • The trainer will bring a laptop

Mike Ward

Mike is Senior Consultant at Alcohol Change UK. He comes from a social work background and was working in alcohol outreach in the 1980s in London. He founded and led Surrey Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service which still exists 31 years later and has worked for Cranstoun and Kent Council on Addiction. He was formerly Commissioning Manager (Mental Health & Substance Misuse) for Surrey Social Services. He is now a full-time consultant and trainer. Mike has worked in the substance misuse/mental health field for over thirty-five years. He wrote the Department of Health/NTA guidelines on running drug death review systems and is one of the two key drivers behind the Blue Light project. He is the author of two safeguarding adult reviews and co-wrote Learning from tragedies.

James Upton

James has worked with adults and children in substance use treatment, children in care, youth offending and in social care. He has provided substance misuse training across young people’s services. James completed his master’s degree in social work and worked as a Children’s Social Worker in Derby and Derbyshire.

James is a member of MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers) and has delivered across a range of services and areas including Substance Misuse, Children’s Services (Social Care and Multi-agency Teams) and Youth Offending Teams.

James lectured in Health and Social Care before setting up as a Freelance Motivational Interviewing and Safeguarding Consultant and Trainer. His 22 years working with Children, Young People and their families across five Local Authorities, has given him a wealth of knowledge and experience which he now brings to life in training.

At the heart of his approach to training is his compassionate approach and the belief that a collaborative approach to working with people to affect change in their lives works best.

Lauren Booker

Lauren has worked for over 18 years in the alcohol sector. She is an experienced Alcohol Change UK consultant, working with the charity since 2009. Lauren specialises in supporting the private sector to reduce alcohol-related harm and promote employee wellbeing. Her clients include British Telecom, Allianz Global, the Royal Navy and Eversheds Sutherland.

Lauren also regularly advises firms on the development and implementation of effective alcohol policies and supporting employees with alcohol problems. She is a qualified alcohol treatment practitioner and has extensive experience as an addiction counsellor. She is also a passionate advocate for recovery coaching and wellbeing promotion and helps businesses of all sizes to minimise the impact of alcohol on their workforce.

She has advised the government on the development of a model alcohol policy for employers and is an experienced speaker at national wellbeing events. Lauren is also a highly effective trainer, delivering courses on all aspects of alcohol, health and wellbeing.

Lauren is also one of the founders of the Dry January® movement and author of Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze. She is a prolific blogger and spokesperson on alcohol.

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