Motivational Interviewing for Health and Wellness

Motivational Interviewing (MI) has been defined as a “collaborative, person-centered form of guiding - to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.”

There are over 2000 MI trainers functioning in more than 45 languages, and at least 15 books on the application of MI. Over 1000 related publications and 200 associated clinical trials have been done, involving dozens of international, federal, state, and foundation research and dissemination grants. Four different meta-analyses demonstrate its effectiveness; spanning broad areas of health and wellness, as well as virtually all identified lifestyle-related problems. These problems include, for example, risky drinking or substance abuse, high stress levels, smoking, poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, engaging in unprotected sexual relations, etc.

 This telephonic course employs interactive telephonic lectures, demonstrations, learning through role-play practice and feedback, as well as group facilitation using a dedicated self-directed and automated web-based learning program, developed by Dr. Cole and colleagues. The online program includes multiple high-definition videotape demonstration of skills, practice exercises, (ungraded) quizzes with feedback, and “field” exercises to complete with other learners in the course.  Optional readings are provided for in-depth exploration of a wide range of topics for interested participants. 

Most specifically, this course emphasizes developing proficiency in the well-defined eight core competencies of Brief Action Planning (BAP), an innovative and evidence-based, client-centered, and pragmatic, self-management support tool and technique based on the principles and practice of MI. Learners master what has been called the “Spirit of MI” (evocation, collaboration, acceptance, and compassion) as the foundation for using the skills of BAP, and MI.  Finally, learners practice using BAP as a form of “brief MI,” or an “application of MI.”

BAP functions as a uniquely efficient and strategic stepped-care clinical approach. Coaches using BAP in their practices, start with relatively more basic skills and introduce progressively more complex BAP or MI strategies when clinically necessary for persistent unhealthy or maladaptive behaviors.

Internet access is required for this course.

Course Schedule
Please note - this class meets every other week

  • Week One: 90-minute teleclass
  • Week Two: Interactive web-based learning program
  • Week Three: 90-minute teleclass
  • Week Four: Small group field work
  • Week Five: 90-minute teleclass
  • Week Six: Small group field work
  • Week Seven: 90-minute teleclass

Dr. Steven Cole, Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus at Stony Brook University School of Medicine,  is the lead or co-author on multiple publications related to BAP, including the recently revised White Paper. Read more here.

Frequency:  This course is offered once a year.

Course Prerequisites

  • No other courses required

Register for this course

Select a class term from the list below.


Dr. Cole has an extraordinary ability to present complicated information in a succinct and informative manner. I have used basic MI techniques that I learned from Dr. Cole and I can attest that it motivates clients who are ambivalent about reaching health and wellness goals.
- Theresa C.