MI for Adolescent Health Behavior

Learn how to effectively support and empower adolescents dealing with health concerns using Motivational Interviewing skills and techniques.

In this course, MI trainer Cathy Cole, LCSW,  outlines the basic principles of MI known as the “MI Spirit” and together with colleague Nikki Cockern, PhD, demonstrate how to apply these principles in 4 sessions with high school and college-age teens dealing with serious health issues: HIV, weight management, Type 1 diabetes, and risky sexual behavior.

Covering the four MI processes, change talk and sustain talk, and “the righting reflex”—our natural yet ill-advised urge to “fix” our clients—Cole emphasizes the method’s nonjudgmental, client-centered nature.

In sessions with Sean, Carlotta, Olga, and Missy, you’ll observe how to use MI to manage risk, communicate nonjudgment, deepen rapport, and draw out your clients’ innate strengths. This video also offers realistic commentary, in which Cole discusses both the successes and the challenges of each session and how to work with your own “righting reflex” to clinical benefit.

You will see why MI is so widely adopted in health-care settings and how its spirit of collaboration reduces resistance and promotes adolescent interest in change.

Course hosts: Cathy Cole, LCSW, and Victor Yalom, PhD

Counselors featured: Cathy Cole, LCSW and Nikki Cockern, PhD


“If I could choose only one video to explicate the power of using MI with adolescents, I would recommend viewing the session with an MI counselor and an HIV positive client and the discussion before and after.  This an extraordinary example of the use of MI processes in drawing out the angst and reactions of a young client. Teaching highly diverse graduate students, I am impressed with the diversity of both counselors and clients in the video.”

—Jane M. Webber, PhD, LPC, Lecturer, Counselor Education, Program, Kean University 

“Cathy Cole embodies the spirit of Motivational Interviewing and the posture of curiosity that makes MI so effective. A trainer for over 20 years, Cole masterfully demonstrates high-level MI while breaking down each session in a way that demystifies the process. This course can serve as a great introduction or a more advanced tutorial of MI skills for those that have difficult conversations about change with adolescents.”

—Scott Kerby, MA LPC, Member of MINT

“I highly recommend this course to MI trainers and learners alike. The video is contemporary in that it follows and engages with the newest conceptualizations and constructs related to MI. The portrayal of racially and ethnically diverse MI providers and clients is a significant addition to the body of MI training videos that tend to lack representational diversity. The varied conversations that focus on engaging, focusing, and evoking are very instructive.”

—Stéphanie Wahab, PhD, Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University


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