What is Motivational Interviewing for Loved Ones?

Motivational interviewing or “MI” is an evidence-based communication style widely used by counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to talk about making healthy changes or committing to treatment. MI is based on the premise that the best way to influence another person’s behavior is by respecting their autonomy and creating space for them to explore their own ambivalence and (hopefully) motivation for change. Research shows that when professionals use MI, patients are more likely to make healthy changes like reducing smoking and drinking.

As kids get older, we can’t control their behavior. Even if we threaten consequences or offer rewards, they might just go their own way. What we really want is partnership: a relationship in which we can respectfully communicate with young people about important decisions. The stronger the relationship, the more our kids will care about our opinions and follow our advice. Motivational interviewing offers a toolbox of skills for escaping destructive power struggles and building partnership. Dr. Kline and her team have adapted motivational interviewing for parents so that families can learn motivational interviewing skills and use them to have successful conversations about virtually anything.

How can I learn Motivational Interviewing for Loved Ones?

If you are struggling to be a positive guide in a young person’s life and would like to learn MILO skills, we have resources for you!

FREE e-course: The School of Hard Talks Online

The School of Hard Talks Online is a FREE e-course that you can do at your own pace to learn MILO skills. This e-course has 7 modules, each of which takes about 10 minutes to complete. You can view the modules as many times as you like.

Sign up for a “School of Hard Talks” group course

If you live in Massachusetts, we can connect you to a School of Hard Talks group, in which you can meet other parents of teens and young adults to learn and practice MILO skills. Groups meet online or in person and are led by facilitators trained by Dr. Kline. Contact us to learn more.

Receive one-on-one coaching in MILO skills

Contact our team via email, text, or voice call if you would like to learn more about MILO coaching. Participation can be either on Zoom or in person and is accessible to both Massachusetts residents and others.

MILO Training for Your Organization

The MILO teams provides motivational interviewing training and consultation to professionals and organizations that would like to learn new strategies to support families and communities. Past and ongoing projects include:

  • Consultation to mental health clinics about how to incorporate MILO materials and themes into family treatment
  • Training for behavioral health clinicians and paraprofessionals in motivational interviewing skills
  • Training for community health workers who want to use motivational interviewing to promote client engagement and vaccine acceptance

Contact our team to start a discussion about MILO training and consultation for your organization.