Learning and Applying Motivational Interviewing within Native American Treatment Centers



Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidenced-based practice in the treatment of individuals with behavioral health issues. MI is a collaborative, person-centered counseling method for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change. The primary goals for this training are to provide a Native American view of the use of motivational interviewing (MI) as a best practice in Native programs and services. The training will focus on the skills presented in the 3rd edition of Motivational Interviewing, along with the trainers’ own experiences implementing this practice within their own agencies over several years. Training participants will be provided with ideas and suggestions to begin the practice implementation process during and after on-site training through ongoing participation in webinar-based consultation with the trainer.


Program supervisors and managers, counselors and support staff, and/or elders. Organizations may propose a team of 3 to 5 individuals from the organization. At least one member must be the primary contact/supervisor who:

  • has the support of the organizational leadership to implement MI,
  • is committed to attaining and maintaining their own proficiency in MI, and
  • is able to support the implementation of MI in the organization.


  • Increased knowledge and application of MI with agency and clients and staff
  • Ability to assess areas for improvement in the practice of MI via webinars and other post-training activities
  • Understanding of the steps needed to implement MI
  • Ability to demonstrate the skills of basic MI in the on-site training
  • Plan for ongoing MI supervision post training

Questions to consider before applying for Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is, briefly, a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own motivation for and commitment to change.  To determine whether there is a role for MI in your organization, consider the following questions (yes or no):

  • Are there (or should there be) conversations about change happening?
  • Will the outcomes for the people you serve be influenced by the extent to which they make changes in their lives or behavior?
  • Is supporting people to make such changes a part of your service (or should it be)?
  • Are people you serve often reluctant or ambivalent about making changes?
  • Are utilization, adherence, engagement, and retention in your services significant concerns?
  • Do staff struggle with or complain about people who are “unmotivated,” “resistant,” or “difficult”?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, there may be a potential role for MI in your organization.  

Criteria for selection of participants

Successful applicants will:

  • Be willing to complete needs assessment
  • Devote time to implementation, pre-work activities and post-training activities
  • Be able to offer resources for key players to be successful with MI improvement and advancement


  • Kathyleen Tomlin, Trainer & Consultant, Cheyenne River Sioux Training and Consulting
  • Phyllis Stewart, CADCII, Director of Outpatient Services, Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. (NARA NW)

Important dates

  • Pre-Work Webinar: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET 
  • On-Site Training: April 6 - April 9, 2014 (Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico)
  • Coaching Call: To be determined with each organizational team

Post-Training Webinars:

  • Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET
  • Friday, July 25, 2014 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm ET
  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET

Information for all webinars is posted on the Discussion Forum under the "Meeting and Logistics" thread.


For more information visit the Motivational Interviewing website.

Read more about NNEDLearn.