Emotions The Best Motivational Interviewing Training Programs Help empower others By Sherri Gordon Sherri Gordon Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert. Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 13, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Cara Lustik Fact checked by Cara Lustik LinkedIn Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter. Learn about our editorial process Print Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. When it comes to facilitating behavioral changes, counselors, social workers, health care workers, and other similar professionals often use motivational interviewing. Through this evidence-based approach, skilled practitioners are able to empower people to make changes while honoring and respecting their autonomy. One of the major tenets of this approach is that it requires the clinician to have expert communication and listening skills to facilitate change without directing, confronting, instructing, warning, or advising the person on what they should or should not do. Instead, the goal is to approach people in a respectful and curious manner that honors their ability to make their own choices. Consequently, learning to interact with people using motivational interviewing takes time, practice, and patience. And because it is not always instinctive, a quality training program is needed for professionals to know how to effectively and ethically use motivational interviewing. If you are looking for quality motivational interviewing training programs, we've rounded up the best ones available to aid you in your search. Callout Text Best Overall: Psychwire Best Budget: The Varalli Group Best Certificate-Based: University of Maryland School of Social Work Best for Health Professionals: University of Massachusetts Best for Professionals Working in Addiction Recovery: Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network Our Top Picks 1 Best Overall: Psychwire Psychwire Learn More Why We Chose It: Bill Miller and Steve Rollnick, are not only the pioneers behind the motivational interviewing approach but also founded a non-profit for people who practice the discipline of motivational interviewing. There is no better place to learn the most authentic and up-to-date version of motivational learning than from these two experts. What We Like Training provided by pioneers of motivational interviewingContinuing Education (CE)/Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits are availableSeparate programs for addiction and healthcareTrainers are skilled and knowledgeableProvide a non-profit organization with an exhaustive list of training opportunities What We Don't Like Can be costly if your budget is limitedNot much opportunity for simulations or practice When it comes to learning the ins and outs of motivational interviewing, the best place to look for training options is with the creators of the motivational interviewing concept, Bill Miller and Steve Rollnick. As founders of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT), Miller and Rollnick not only run this non-profit membership organization that trains and certifies professionals in motivational interviewing training, but they also offer instruction themselves through Psychwire. So, if you want to make sure you are being trained in authentic motivational interviewing, consider the training options that Miller and Rollnick provide. As the pioneers of motivational interviewing, they offer training programs for those in the healthcare and addiction recovery fields as well as provide a foundational course. In the foundational course, which is about $450 for a six-week program or 10 hours of work, you will learn how to engage with clients in a practical way so that they can find and build their motivation to change. Additionally, the course offers 10 CE/CME credits for those who are interested. In its eight hour health care, motivational interviewing training program, which typically costs around $290, Rollnick and other health care professionals teach participants how to use their techniques to address all types of challenges in the health care industry. Each module includes video lessons, interactive quizzes, and commentary and offers eight CE/CME credits. As for its six-week addiction motivational interviewing training program, which usually costs about $450, Miller, along with Dr. Theresa Moyers, teach attendees how to utilize motivational interviewing to harness their client's internal desires to change. Each module includes video lessons as well as multiple treatment demonstrations. In addition to providing their own training program, Miller and Rollnick also include an extensive list of motivational interviewing courses available from MINT members on their website. 2 Best Budget: The Varalli Group Courtesy of The Varalli Group Learn More Why We Chose It: This training program provided by The Varalli Group offers 20 courses at an extremely low price, allowing people to try their training with little risk or financial commitment. What We Like Opportunity to try one or two courses at a minimal costNot required to make a huge financial commitmentNAADAC approved education providerProvides good variety What We Don't Like May be time-consuming to get CE/CME creditSelf-paced program without much interaction or assistance With more than 20 reasonably-priced courses available for people looking to learn more about motivational interviewing, the web-based training courses offered by The Varalli Group are worth looking into. What's more, this organization is approved as an education provider by the NAADAC (National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors). At roughly $15 per course or about $249 for all 20 motivational interviewing courses, this organization is one of the most reasonably-priced providers of motivational interviewing training. It also offers five interactive online courses for supervisors and managers for around $25 per session, or approximately $110 for all five lessons. Additionally, if you need CE credit, the organization suggests that you let them know in advance so that they can work with you to help you meet your requirements. In addition to its web-based training programs, The Varalli Group also offers SBIRT training (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment), which is a SAMSHA-sponsored training program and is motivational interviewing treatment integrity (MITI) coding and coaching. Overall, The Varalli Group is a great place to start for budget-conscious professionals looking to get started with motivational interviewing training. 3 Best Certificate-Based: University of Maryland School of Social Work University of Maryland School of Social Work Learn More Why We Chose It: This University of Maryland's certificate-based program provides the best hands-on experience in a small and intimate environment of any program out there and awards a certificate of completion at the end. What We Like Class size is intimate and limited to 30 studentsPersonalized attention and coachingOpportunities for practicing the skills learnedInstructor may assist with application for MINT What We Don't Like Information about costs not readily availableCourse not suited for beginners Taught by a MINT-certified instructor and limited to just 30 students at a time, this certificate-based motivational interviewing training program by the University of Maryland provides great information and training for professionals looking for an intimate environment and plenty of hands-on experience. The structure of the course was built with the working professional in-mind and includes a combination of in-person instruction and online learning. What's more, there are plenty of opportunities for hands-on practice, as well as coaching. The lesson is ideal for social workers with some knowledge of motivational interviewing as well as those in administration or management. Although this program is not affiliated with MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers) and is not a pre-requisite for membership, you may wish to include your test scores with your application if you're planning to apply. Likewise, the instructor may be able to serve as a personal reference for membership if you are successful in the course. Contact the University of Maryland directly about costs. 4 Best for Health Professionals: University of Massachusetts Courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Learn More Why We Chose It: Aside from being geared specifically toward health care professionals, this training program offered by the University of Massachusetts includes an intensive program that allows a lot of opportunity for hands-on practice. What We Like Opportunities for both beginners and expertsGood variety of teaching methods usedPlenty of opportunity for hands-on practice (in an intensive program)Trainees receive a certificate at completion What We Don't Like Fees are exorbitant for an intensive programA long-time commitment for an intensive program If you are a health professional who works with patients on everything from medication adherence and pain management to tobacco cessation and drug use, you may want to look into the motivational interviewing courses at the University of Massachusetts. Designed for everyone from beginners to experts, UMASS Medical School's Center for Integrated Primary Care offers a certificate of intensive training in motivational interviewing for health professionals. It also has an introductory course and a knowledge building course. Plus, there are opportunities for you to keep your skills sharp by practicing with an "acting patient." The semester-long, certificate of an intensive training course is founded on the principles of motivational interviewing laid out by Miller and Rollnick, the founders of MINT. The program comes with 10 pre-recorded online lessons, five live online learning labs, two practice sessions with an acting patient, and two individual coaching sessions. This program is offered twice a year and costs about $1,400. Meanwhile, the introductory course can be completed in about an hour and costs roughly $70, while the knowledge course costs approximately $700 and can usually be completed in three months. It's possible to earn CE credit with the course, and there are special rates for groups of 10 or more people. Overall, the knowledge course includes 10 pre-recorded online lessons that are about 40 to 70 minutes in length that can be completed at your own pace. 5 Best for Professionals Working in Addiction Recovery: Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network Courtesy of ATTC Learn More Why We Chose It: When it comes to working with people with addictions, there is no better resource than SAMHSA. Since ATTC is funded by that organization, it lends credibility to its training programs, especially for those working in addiction recovery. What We Like Connected to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a respected source in the industryOffers CE creditProvides patient simulations for trainees to practiceOffers free webinars with useful information What We Don't Like Some of the online materials are datedPricing information is not readily available Funded by SAMHSA, Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC) offers several different training programs for motivational interviewing. For instance, the Northwest ATTC has introductory and advanced courses, as well as sessions on how to use motivational interviewing in group settings, each of which is a two-day course. The organization also offers two online options, including a Tour of Motivational Learning, which is a 4-hour course that's also worth an equal amount of continuing education (CE) credit. Because ATTC is funded by SAMHSA, the organization is in tune with what is best needed for professionals working with individuals struggling with addiction. It also offers patient simulations that let professionals practice their skills in a controlled setting before putting them to use with actual clients or patients. Additionally, Northwest ATTC, as well as the other branches, offer monthly webinars on a variety of topics for those who want to expand its professional toolkit. What's more, these webinars, which often feature well-respected professionals in the industry, can be viewed at a later date if you happen to miss one. Plus, they often cover motivational interviewing as well. The organization's website does not mention a cost but instead encourages those interested to email for more information. However, the majority of the monthly webinars are free, but require registration in advance. Bottom Line If you're considering registering for a motivational interviewing training program, carefully review the time commitment as well as the cost involved. Additionally, if you are hoping to earn continuing education credit, be sure that the program will meet those requirements before enrolling. With these guidelines met, then focus on determining which training program is best for you.Additionally, if this is your first time signing up for a motivational interviewing training program, check out some of the free online videos that are provided through a number of professional organizations. For instance, the ASAM offers a number of free videos on motivational interviewing that might be of interest. Then you can make a well-informed decision about which training program will be best while meeting your employer's requirements. What Should You Look for in a Motivational Interviewing Training Program? When looking for a motivational interviewing training program, pay close attention to the qualifications of the instructor as well as the organization. Both should be skilled in using motivational interviewing as a practitioner and as a trainer. They also should be up-to-date on training themselves and be able to model and demonstrate the skills needed to practice motivational interviewing. Also, look at the learning objectives or goals of the training program to ensure they are in line with your goals. Another key element of evaluating motivational interviewing training programs is to determine what level of expertise the training is designed for. In other words, if you are a beginner, you don't want to attend a training program designed for an expert. Finally, look for training programs that offer a variety of teaching methods, as well as plenty of opportunities to practice what you are learning. It is hard to get anything out of a program that only requires you to sit in front of a computer and listen to someone else talk. Consequently, look for programs that provide interactive quizzes or allow you to break out into small groups (even online). The more that you interact with the training program and the others participating, the more information you will retain. What Can You Expect to Learn With Motivational Interviewing Training Programs? With a high-quality training program, you can expect to learn the core elements of motivational interviewing, as well as the skills and processes used to implement motivational interviewing when interacting with clients. Additionally, you should have some opportunities to practice what you have learned either through simulations, small groups, interactive quizzes, or other hands-on training methods. What Are the Benefits of Motivational Interviewing Training Programs? Because this approach to treatment is evidence-based and effective, it is an important skill for you to add to your repertoire, especially if you work with people who struggle with drug use or addiction. Likewise, people in health care as well as those who work in the criminal justice system have found these training programs provide them with skills that prove useful in their day-to-day work environment. For instance, a review of 72 studies indicated that motivational interviewing had a significant impact in approximately three out of four of them, with an equal effect on physiological (72%) and psychological (75%) diseases." Meanwhile, another study found that this approach to treatment is 10% to 20% more effective than no therapy and is on par with other treatment approaches designed for addictions and risky behaviors. Thus, it's important for clinicians who work in these key areas to know how to use these treatment methods. How We Chose the Best Motivational Interviewing Training Programs When reviewing motivational interviewing training programs, we considered the largest and most well-known training programs in the United States. Then, we evaluated how their training programs are delivered, their accreditations, their affiliations, and their costs. We also looked for programs that offer continuing education or continuing medical education credits, because many professionals are required to earn credits on a regular basis. Because finding the ideal training program is often based on personal preference, as well as your employer's guidelines, it's important that you evaluate the merits of each program against your own set of needs and requirements. This step is especially important if your employer is paying for the training or expects you to earn CE credits. If you don't find a training program that meets your guidelines in our list, check with any professional organizations you belong to like the American Society of Addiction Medicine or National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors. You can also visit the MINT website for a list of training options. 3 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. McKenzie KJ, Pierce D, Gunn JM. A systematic review of motivational interviewing in healthcare: the potential of motivational interviewing to address the lifestyle factors relevant to multimorbidity. J Comorb. 2015;5:162-174. doi:10.15256/joc.2015.5.55 Rubak S, Sandbaek A, Lauritzen T, Christensen B. Motivational interviewing: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Gen Pract. 2005;55(513):305-312. Lundahl B, Burke BL. The effectiveness and applicability of motivational interviewing: a practice-friendly review of four meta-analyses. J Clin Psychol. 2009;65(11):1232-1245. doi:10.1002/jclp.20638 By Sherri Gordon Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.