The Client Relationship: An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing

We are so excited to have Dana Sturtevant back at The Wellspring School teaching the upcoming class focused on the Client Relationship – an Introduction to Motivational Interviewing!

Saturday, July 29th, 2017   |   9:00am – 5:30pm   |   $175 (discounts available)   |   Eligible for 7 CEU hours

book now


Who would benefit from this workshop?

This training is great for all types of professionals who are in the role of counseling clients/patients to make and sustain healthy behavior changes. This class provides the foundation for the use of MI in the client relationship.  This is a required class for our Wholistic Nutrition Program students and one we think would benefit all of our students/alum who haven’t had the chance to take it as well!

What is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a person-centered, guiding method of communication and counseling to elicit and strengthen intrinsic motivation for positive health behavior change. Originally developed in the drug and alcohol field, over 200 clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of MI across a range of populations, target behaviors, and medical conditions.

At its core, MI is not a unique or entirely new approach, but a combination of principles, skills and strategies drawn from existing models of counseling and behavior change theory. Embracing an interpersonal style based on empathy, collaboration, and acceptance, the MI practitioner relies heavily on the use of strategic reflective listening as a means of eliciting clients’ strengths, inner wisdom, reasons for change, and ways of achieving it.

About the instructor:


 Dana Sturtevant is a registered dietitian who has been incorporating Motivational Interviewing into her clinical practice for more than twelve years.  She currently has a private practice in Portland called Be Nourished, and works as a trainer, mentor, yoga teacher, and nutrition therapist specializing in Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating.

As a member of the International Motivational Interviewing Network of trainers since 2002, Dana has facilitated over 300 workshops throughout the United States. Trainings introduce participants to the theory, principles and spirit of Motivational Interviewing, and focus on practical applications in the health care setting. She has trained doctors, dentists, dental hygienists, health educators, nurses, dietitians, case managers, personal trainers, and diabetes educators.

Dana holds a MS in Nutrition Science from the University of Florida and a BS in Food and Nutrition from Southern Illinois University.

We asked Dana for her thoughts on MI.  Read on for what Dana had to say about a recent training she attended…

My Twelve Takeaways from a Motivational Interviewing Training – by Dana Sturtevant

Learning motivational interviewing is likened to learning to play an instrument—it takes time and practice. Here are some of my top takeaways from a training I recently attended, after 17 years of building MI skills…

  1. Motivational interviewing (MI) makes known what we already know—the things that have been taught out of us. When I introduce myself at the beginning of a training I often say “I was trained to get in the way of people’s change process.” This is true for many of us.
  1. Our job isn’t to get other people to change. Our job is to invite a person to think and talk about a topic they’ve agreed on. We are opening the window and trying not to cause it to shut.
  1. Motivational interviewing is grounded in established theoretical models, is evidence-based, and may be the most significant advance in counseling over the last 25 years.
  1. MI helps people make well thought out, committed decisions about change and is often thought of as “The Prep Step before Action”. While many practitioners are very skilled at painting, few are skilled at the prep step of scraping. Most of MI is scraping. Long-term change is supported when you go about it incrementally, step by step.
  1. Are you listening with your eyes, your eyes, your heart? Do you recognize that your body is in the room? Seventy percent of communication is non-verbal.
  1. One word that captures what doesn’t work is fixing. Folks don’t get good at motivational interviewing until they get good at sitting on their hands. To develop proficiency, we have to sidestep a reflex that is very strong: the need to fix things. This strong instinct is sometimes called the “reflex of the heart” because it comes from a well-meaning place. Unfortunately, when the righting reflex is running the show, we are likely doing more harm than good. Behavior change does not respond to an authoritarian voice.
  1. Most helping professionals ask closed questions. Open questions increase the odds of the person sharing more with you—they have a bigger yield.
  1. MI is a radically different way of thinking and responding. You are not proficient in motivational interviewing until you’ve mastered the skill of reflective listening.
  1. Style is everything! Playing the notes does not mean you are playing the music. You can ask open-ended questions and reflect often and it still doesn’t mean you are competent in motivational interviewing. Your presence—how you hold space with people who are thinking about change—is the most motivating and helpful thing about you. The metaphor of dancing vs. wrestling is often used to describe the spirit of MI.
  1. There isn’t a correlation between what people know and what they do. Most health care providers are trained to believe that knowledge is what changes behavior. If this were true, we’d live in a pretty amazing world.
  1. Give clients the good lines! People are influenced by what they hear themselves say, not by what others say to them. If you are the only one talking about the reasons change is needed, chances are your clients will only give voice to the reasons not to change. Miller and Rollnick (2013) say, MI is a particular way of having a conversation about change so that it is the client rather than the clinician who voices the arguments for change.” Reflect the good stuff back to your clients.
  1. People learn when they have significant time to reflect. At the end of your visits, ask clients to share what really stands out to them from your conversation. Write what they say down and circle ack to it at your next visit.

So there you have it. I’m wondering what stands out to you from the list of “top takeaways” I just shared?


Comments are closed.