Would you like social workers in your local authority to be able to deliver Motivational Interviewing training?


Motivational Interviewing (MI) provides a set of principles and skills that allow for better engagement, deeper conversations and more purposeful practice in child and family work. It is a key element of important recent innovations with a strong evidence base, such as the Family Safeguarding model and Family Drug and Alcohol Courts. MI skills are associated with positive outcomes for families.

MI emphasises high quality listening, understanding the motivations of others and developing dialogue about difficult issues. It has been found to be effective with a wide variety of problem behaviours, from alcohol and drug problems to changing diet; in a diverse range of settings, from prisons to GP consultations; and for interventions that range from 6 minutes to many months.

Our training package aims to support local authorities (LA) to develop MI skills across their child and family workforce, from early support through to court work. To do this we have developed two two-day training courses, with supporting materials:

  1. Introduction to MI
  2. MI for Child and Family Work

Course overview

These courses are designed to allow LAs to roll out MI training across their LA. We do this by training practitioners experienced and competent in using MI to deliver training within LAs. Our package includes:

· Participation in a Training for Trainers event for individuals from each LA

· Mentoring, observation of training with coaching feedback and annual refresher sessions for Trainers

· Publicity materials, including short videos to publicise the programme within the LA

· Quality assurance collected, collated and analysed by us to ensure training is delivered to a high standard and by appropriate trainers

Professor Donald Forrester, Dr David Wilkins and their team in the CASCADE Centre at Cardiff University have carried out more research on MI and child and family work than any other group in the world. This has included exploring how to use MI for working with resistant parents, using it to have very difficult child protection conversations and adapting our understanding of MI so that it is a better fit for children’s services. This knowledge and experience has shaped the development of the training and the supporting materials, so that they provide an in-depth introduction to the use of MI for participating LAs.

How it works

LAs buy the package of training courses, and the licence to use them for three years. This includes:

· Two to four staff to attend, in person, the Training the Trainer event and become accredited MI trainers, who can then deliver MI training across or beyond their LA

· Use of all materials and resources to support the training within the LA

· Assessment of trainers’ MI skills prior to attendance on the course

· Ongoing quality assurance to ensure quality of training and its impact

· Support for Trainers over the 3 years of the licence, including mentoring from Professor Forrester and Dr Wilkins and an annual training the trainers day

What it costs – and what you get

A £5,000 early adoption payment buys a 3 year licence which includes a minimum of 2 trainers and maximum of 5 trainers to participate in the course and have access to the materials to support course delivery, Quality Assurance and more.

Please note that we do a brief telephone evaluation of proposed trainers’ MI skills and only make the course available to those able to demonstrate MI skills for social work.

When and Where

The two day training course will take place on Thursday 1st December – Friday 2nd December at the Cardiff University Social Science Research Park, sbarc|spark, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AT.

Social Work and Interviewing Motivationally (SWIM) Skills Coding Handbook

In addition to these training courses, we have also developed a skills coding handbook, which we make publicly available for interested practitioners, researchers and policy-makers. You can access the handbook here.

Want to know more?

Email cascadetraining@cardiff.ac.uk with an initial expression of interest together with any queries or questions and we will answer them or arrange a video meeting.