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Formerly St. Louis Center for Family Development

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is both an approach to working with individuals or groups who are looking to make needed changes in their lives and a treatment for substance use disorders.

Developed by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick more than 30 years ago, Motivational Interviewing has become a widely accepted and practiced approach to working with anyone who is considering making changes in their life. MI applications have evolved to include creating change in substance use behaviors, health-related behaviors, enhancing motivation and commitment to engaging in mental health treatments, treatment follow-through, and increased engagement.

The concepts of Motivational Interviewing have a wide-reaching impact. MI takes the science of linguistics and predicts change based on how we talk to, build and respond to an individual’s motivation and ambivalence. Anyone who works with people in a helping profession can benefit from learning MI principles. In fact, if you are a helper, you are probably already doing some of the foundational skills. MI takes what you are already doing well and packages it to help increase the probability of change happening.

Who Should Learn Motivational Interviewing?

If you work in a healthcare setting, as a nurse, physician, case manager, counselor or mental health professional, or any other role that involves helping people change, this training is for you!

Should My Organization Invest in Training Its Workforce in Motivational Interviewing?

Whether your organization’s mission is to address mental health, child welfare, housing, college access, job training, substance abuse, healthcare, or any combination, Motivational Interviewing has a place in your organization.

Motivational Interviewing was developed to address motivational factors that influence change. The idea was to develop an approach that would take into account the factors that predict change. The result was an approach that focused on communicating and interacting in ways to increase motivation through getting people to articulate their intrinsic motivation while helping individuals to resolve ambivalence in the service of change.

Sparlin Mental Health (Sparlin) has been working tirelessly over the past three years to help some of St. Louis’s most important and influential organizations increase their impact with some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community through training in Motivational Interviewing. Sparlin’s MI Training Team works one-on-one with the Executive Teams to develop customized training projects based on the organizational goals.

What Are Organizations and Participants Saying About Sparlin’s Motivational Interviewing Projects?

“Completing the Motivational Interviewing training was an eye-opening experience for me that has changed the way I approach my work. Something Ryan said during the training is, ‘if it was easy to change, [the client] already would have.’ This, combined with the rest of his teachings, turned on a ‘light bulb’ for me; individuals need help moving to the next phase along the continuum of change- one step at a time. Not only does this work with direct service, but I applied it to a more macro scale since I work on a regional level. It has made me think differently about how I work with my staff; the messages, presentations and programs we deliver to communities; and even data collection forms and questions asked of participants. I went into the training thinking I would get useful tools for one specific area, and instead walked away with useful tools I can apply in so many areas of my work and my life.”

– Erin Mooney, MSW
Senior Director of Health Promotions
American Lung Association of the Plains-Gulf Region


Learning Motivational Interviewing “has helped our team improve their communication and strategies for partnering families to work towards successful behavioral change. It has significantly improved our listening and guiding of patients and their families.

The training increased the awareness of the benefits of MI within our organization (Department of Pediatrics specifically) and also among residents in training. It empowered our staff to utilize tools learned via MI and incorporate them into both current and future practice.

MI training allowed us to have another method with which to consider in reaching our patients, in order to better assist them with achieving successful behavioral change in their lives.”

– Matthew A. Broom, MD, FAAP
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Saint Louis University School of Medicine at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center

STLCFD’s Organizational Impact Partners

Sparlin provides three program models for individuals, organizations and agencies interested in training, making a paradigm shift, enhancing the service delivery model, or implementing a specific treatment model. Contact us for more information and to get started.

Individual Training

Sparlin hosts a variety of didactic courses and learning labs throughout the year. Although the majority of the training courses span multiple sessions, we offer occasional single session trainings as well. These trainings are open to the community at large and are promoted on our Events page.

Collaborative Training

Organizations and agencies oftentimes share common needs and goals. Sparlin works with these groups to provide shared didactic trainings and tailored consultation for each of the individual organizations. Groups benefit by sharing the cost while still receiving individualized coaching.

Organizational Training

Sparlin offers customized plans for organizations that wish to create a cultural shift, learn and implement a new treatment model, or incorporate specific constructs into their service delivery model. Through ongoing consultations, we assess organizational functioning and engage in targeted skill development.