Workshop Offers Guidance on Helping Change through Motivational Interviewing


Peter Selby, MBBS, FCFP, DABAM

Working with patients to help them decide what they want to do to solve a problem related to a chronic illness or a behavior change could be a challenge for addiction medicine specialists.

“In medicine, we are trained to fix things and tell people what to do. We’re always looking for what’s wrong with someone so we then can provide a solution,” said Peter Selby, MBBS, FCFP, DABAM, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Psychiatry, Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) at the University of Toronto, Ontario.

Dr. Selby will present “Motivational Interviewing: Evoking Change Humanely” with Ramm Hering, MD, CCFP, MSc, Dip PH, who recently completed a fellowship at CAMH. The session will be presented from 11 am to 12:30 pm Saturday in Governors Ballroom E, Fourth Floor.

“Unfortunately, a communication style of trying to fix someone doesn’t work when you’re trying to motivate and inspire someone to address an addiction or change a behavior,” Dr. Selby said.

Motivational interviewing is a compassionate and open way of communicating to help individuals start to make changes they would not have made had they been confronted to make such changes.

A range of learners can participate—whether they are beginners or more advanced counselors. In this interactive workshop, presenters will engage learners with the spirit (compassion, acceptance, partnership, and evocation) and processes (engaging, focusing, evoking and planning) of motivational interviewing.

“They will learn by doing as opposed to learning by listening, making for a dynamic program,” Dr. Selby said. “Motivational interviewing is a trainable skill. It transforms your practice so you can inspire people rather than fight with people to change. Participants will come away with a better way to set boundaries, have compassion for their patients who aren’t able to change, and help those who are ready to overcome their ambivalence to change.”