Free workshop offers introduction into motivational interviewing

 Jason Weber

A free workshop on motivational interviewing, an evidenced-based client-centered approach to counseling, will be offered to area health professionals, particularly those who work with children and families.

The event, a continuation of a regional workforce development project within the healthcare industry, will be hosted at Hocking Athens Perry Community Action in Glouster on June 26, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Motivational interviewing (MI) elicits an individual’s internal motivation to change their behavior. This involves careful listening to a person’s statements about an identified problem, and a counseling approach that avoids direct confrontation, blaming or unsolicited advice. The MI practitioner aspires to form an empathic, collaborative relationship with the person they are helping, free of power struggles, and rich in connection and positive regard. It is a sign that things are going well when the client, and not the counselor, is the person arguing for change. In fact, listening for – and enhancing – client change talk is a core skill of motivational interviewing.

“It’s based upon specific counseling approaches, combined with skilled timing of your intervention attempts,” said Jason Weber, who will be hosting the workshop. “Those who aren’t seeing any potential benefits of behavior change are approached one way. Those who know they want to change are approached another way. And those on their path to change are handled yet another way. Matching your approach is a core part of MI.”

Developed initially for substance abusers, motivational interviewing has since evolved into a skill set that has much broader applicability, Weber said. Research has demonstrated it can be used effectively with a range of issues, including eating disorders, smoking cessation, diabetes management and cardiac recovery.

“It can be a guiding hand for any therapeutic intervention,” Weber said. “It’s a way of being with people that’s very skillful. It’s roomy enough to accommodate other therapeutic strategies. It gives a framework to do them more effectively.”

Weber is a supervising clinical counselor (LPCC-s) and a licensed independent chemical dependency counselor (LICDC). He serves as a Clinical Counselor and AOD Specialist with Counseling and Psychological Services at Ohio University, where he has conducted motivational interviewing training and supervision for the past five years. He also maintains a small private practice in Athens, providing individual therapy and clinical supervision services.

Motivational Interviewing is effective, but takes time and practice to acquire. Weber said the half-day training is an invitation to get excited about the practical wisdom offered by MI. He believes participants will appreciate the effectiveness of matching therapist behaviors to a client’s stage of change, and acquire practical skills to take back into their next session. Participants should come prepared to have fun learning about, watching, and practicing key aspects of MI.

The workforce development project is made possible through support from a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) called Project LAUNCH. Project LAUNCH, which stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health, promotes the wellness of young children from birth to age 8 by addressing the physical, social and behavioral aspects of their development.

Previous workforce development initiatives included PCIT and CARE training - all offered for free.

“One of the goals of Project LAUNCH is to expand workforce development opportunities in our area,” said Dr. Dawn Graham, Young Child Wellness Council Coordinator for Project LAUNCH and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Ohio University. “We are committed to investing in those individuals who serve our community and improving access to evidence-based, quality treatment to the children and families we serve.”

The Project LAUNCH grant is an initiative of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio University, and Integrating Professionals for Appalachian Children (IPAC), a university-community rural health network (

IPAC is a rural health network committed to improving the health of young children by fostering collaboration among professionals, families and community agencies. Founded in 2002, the network comprises 19 community agencies in Athens, Hocking, Meigs and Vinton Counties, including several Ohio University departments and clinics.

Slots are still open for the workshop. For more information or to RSVP, please contact:

Dr. Dawn Graham

Project LAUNCH

Young Child Wellness Council Coordinator

(740) 593-2212


Continuing Education Information

CHEAO (OH-049/10-1-14) is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This program meets the criteria for 4.66 contact hour of CNE credit.

Area Health Education Center at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine is approved by OPA MCE (Provider #316402113) to offer continuing education credit for psychologists.

This program will provide 4.75 hour of credit for psychologists.

Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services, Inc. is a provider of CPEs for Counselors ans Social Workers for the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapists Board.  Provider number is RCS070803.

This program will provide 4.66 hour of credit for counselors and social workers.