MI in groups – Chris Wagner | HMA

MI in groups – Chris Wagner


Many practitioners have found Motivational Interviewing to be a useful addition to their work. While MI has become almost standard care over the past years, it is an individualized approach that requires some adaptation for group work.

MI helps people find their way to a better future – from a single habit or lifestyle change to a broader change in identity and one’s approach to living, MI helps people develop goals, clarify the importance of making changes in their lives, and develop greater confidence, resulting in feeling more energized to move forward and more able to take the risks that are involved in almost any change.

MI in groups helps clients do this with a team on their side, providing camaraderie, support, and inspiration throughout the process of change. Whether MI groups are theme-based or heterogeneous groups, time-limited or ongoing, their purpose is to harness the power of group support to help people make changes that they believe will meaningfully improve their lives.

Facilitating this process in a way that maximizes potential while minimizing risk takes skill. Not only do group leaders need to provide competent motivational interviewing, but they must also weave together group members who have different styles, beliefs, needs and problems, and who are often at different points along the change pathway.

A positive climate provides the foundation; cohesion and a shared sense of purpose set the stage, and creative brainstorming and altruistic support help build momentum toward change.

Leaders deepen the conversation, exploring values, underlying feelings and other elements that can enhance or interfere with members’ progress toward goals. Members are guided through a series of topics that help them identify their most important goals, gain a clearer sense of themselves and develop greater confidence in their ability to achieve goals they set. MI group leaders balance their focus between individual client issues and broader group processes, keeping the group engaged and supportive, but respectful of differences and individual autonomy.

Whether you wish to lead MI groups or just explore how this approach can work, the two-day workshop can help you learn about and experience this approach. The workshop is highly experiential, with most of the time spent practicing the approach in working groups that allow for development and deepening over the two days together. We hope you’ll join us!

Chris Wagner


“We are really fortunate to have Chris come to Auckland (August 9-10th) to run a two day workshop on MI in groups. Currently there are still a few places left, so if you, or someone you know is keen to attend then click on this link to register” – Ken McMaster

Published on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016, under Motivational Interviewing

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