empty chairs in a circle, group therapy

Motivational Interviewing Groups: Moving Together Toward Change

Motivational interviewing is an empathic, goal-oriented therapeutic approach that elicits change in health, mental health, and addictive behaviors.  Originally an alternative to addiction approaches that relied on an expert, authoritarian stance in counseling, MI has evolved into a mainstream, evidence-based, and highly-used method for eliciting change that helps people live better and healthier across a wide variety of settings, clinical problems, and populations.

MI was developed as an individual approach, focusing on dyadic interactions between the person and the counselor.  However, adapting MI for use with a group of people requires reconceptualizing its core practices to harness the power of group support, cohesion and momentum.  Group leadership requires skills beyond those in dyadic counseling.  Managing “conversational traffic” and facilitating open sharing among people with different experiences, goals, styles, and beliefs are essential skills for group leaders.  Effective leaders must be well-prepared to address unexpected situations and maintain therapeutic bonds with individual group members while facilitating a conversation among the whole group.

This six-session experiential training provides information on adapting MI to groups across a variety of formats, and is highly experiential, leading participants through group practice exercises across the four phases of MI groups.  Participants will become part of a group, and some will have opportunities to lead the group.  Incorporating Motivational Interviewing group skills developed by the trainers, this series guides participants in successful group leadership, refocusing groups away from rehashing problems and toward inspiring positive change.


Every Wednesday, June 2 – July 14, 2021 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm MT / 3:00 – 5:00 pm CT


  • Shift from providing individual counseling in a group setting to facilitating group interactions that promote growth and wellness
  • Model a warm, healthy, relaxed, and accepting way of being
  • Foster a positive group climate while deepening cohesion between members
  • Understand the expanded nature of change talk in MI groups
  • Broaden and deepen group conversations for optimal success
  • Transform group conflict into moments of growth
  • Try guided group activities such as exploring values, drawing from past successes, harnessing personal strengths, and envisioning a better future
  • Use the MI strategies of Exploring and Broadening Perspectives, Building Momentum for Change, and Moving into Action

Target Audience:

  • Behavioral Health, Substance Use Disorders, and Recovery Service providers in HHS Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)

Participant Commitment & Expectations

  • In order to be eligible and register for the MI for Groups series, applicants are required to complete the 4-hour, free, self-paced, online course Tour of MI: An Interprofessional Road Map for Behavior Change and submit an electronic copy of your certificate of completion during the registration process. TOUR OF MI CEUs: Participants can take the Tour of MI course and receive a FREE Certificate of Completion. CEUs are offered at an additional price of $20.00.
  • Access to appropriate technology to utilize Zoom videoconferencing platform (internet connection, webcam, laptop/tablet, speakers and microphone)
    • Attend a one-hour online Orientation on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm MT / 3:00 pm CT
  • Commit to 6-weeks of online training for 2 hours weekly from June 9 – July 14, 2021
  • Complete weekly self-study learning activities


  • Karen Ingersoll, PhD
  • Chris Wagner, PhD

There is No Cost to Participate:

The first 35 registrants will receive a Mountain Plains ATTC waiver that covers the $350 cost to participate. Once the 35 spots have been filled, registration will be closed. Due to limited enrollment, if you cannot commit to the full requirements, please defer this opportunity to others.

Please Note:

Registrants enrolled in this series are required to attend the June 2nd and June 9th sessions. If you cannot attend these sessions, you will forfeit your attendance.

In addition, it is expected that participants will have access to the appropriate technology by June 9th in order to fully participate and be on camera at least 90% of the time. This is not a webinar series and active participation to gain/improve skills are required.

Due to limited enrollment, if you cannot commit to the full participant requirements, please defer this online training series opportunity to others.  Registration is not transferable to another person. 

If you have not received a welcome email June 1st, please check your spam folder.

Continuing Education

The series has been approved for a total of 19 contact hours (18 hours content instruction and a one-hour orientation session) through the National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) ACEP No. 6492. No credit will be awarded for non-attendance or partial attendance. 

The knowledge and skills learned should be applied within the framework of any applicable Operating and/or Credentialing regulations in your State of practice.


Please contact the MPATTC Workwise Staff at mpattc@casat.org or by phone at 775-784-6265 or 866-617-2816 (toll-free).

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