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MI Update - Summer 2023

A brief update on all things motivational interviewing (MI) from
Professor Stephen Rollnick, Orla Adams, and the MI Cardiff Workshops team.


We have two workshops lined up as follows, and they will bring together Orla Adams’ considerable experience as a practitioner and trainer with Steve’s updates on how the recent 4th edition of the MI text book impacts the way we think about helping and more. Guest speakers usually appear for in-depth focus on a chosen topic.

Introduction and refresher

Intermediate and advanced level

Further information and registration


This is coming out very soon. Steve will discuss this in the Cardiff MI workshops. The definition and goal of MI has been widened to embrace not just behaviour change but personal growth and change.  It means that MI can increasingly be used by people in a helping role like parents, teachers or even friends.  Is this too ambitious?  We think it is justified by the awful and widespread use of conversations styles that hinder growth, undermine and harm young people especially, let alone the dignity and more among elderly people. Anything that improves things is worth the effort.

We attach a summary of MI4 that Steve and Bill Miller produced recently.


There are many anecdotal accounts, and a couple of studies, suggesting that the use MI prevents burnout, probably because the weight of solving problems for people gets lifted from our shoulders. Fair enough, but what about the other side: over-identifying with people, “feeling their pain”. Steve has a personal recollection of being very close to burnout and wonders whether empathising too much with clients was a factor. Our workshops will raise the distinction between cognitive and emotional empathy and what this means for finding better balance ourselves. 

How’s this for a resolution:

“You may think of compassion as sharing another's pain.  But of what value is that to you or the other? If I come to you in pain, and you end up with the same pain, all we have done is add to the world's suffering.  We have done nothing to alleviate it.  I want you to understand my pain, to respond to it deeply, but not to take it on yourself.  I want you to help me to see what you see, and what I cannot see.  I want you engage my pain as if I were an actor in a drama you were watching.  Mirror my experience, but don't embrace it as your own.”  

RabbiRami Shapiro. Rupp, J. (2018). Boundless Compassion. Sorin Books.  (p. 90 – 91)


If you feel like a really deep dive into what reflection is take a look at this new paper:

Robert Elliott, Arthur Bohart, Dale Larson, Peter Muntigl & Olga Smoliak (2023): Empathic reflections by themselves are not effective: Meta-analysis and qualitative synthesis, Psychotherapy Research, DOI: 10.1080/10503307.2023.2218981.   


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