Motivational interviewing training in criminal justice


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Motivational Interviewing in Corrections - Communication techniques for working with people involved in the criminal justice system.

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Motivational interviewing training in criminal justice

  1. 1. Federal Probation: September 2008 Newsletter A journal of correctional philosophy and practice
  2. 2.  Melissa Alexander  U.S. Probation  Eastern District of Missouri  Scott W. VanBenschoten  Office of Probation and Pretrial Services  Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts  Scott T. Walters  University of Texas School of Public Health  Summarized by Chris Wilson, PhD Candidate Nova Southeastern University
  3. 3.  Groundwork ◦ Evidence Based Practices (EBP) – Programs and services that reduce recidivism, i.e. re-arrest, reconviction, reincarceration. ◦ Effective practices target the client’s:  Risk  Need  Responsivity Providers interact with offenders in a way that will effectively engage the offender which increases motivation for change.
  4. 4. 1). Meet regularly with offenders. 2). Conduct intake and other assessments. 3). Report to court on client progress. 4). Decide intensity of monitoring and programs for offenders. 5). Prepare offenders motivationally to comply with probation conditions. 6). Engage in special programs. 7). Make other positive changes.
  5. 5.  Historical evidence indicates that brief interactions can significantly influence client outcome.  Recent evidence suggests that the relationship between an officer and the offender can be “a pivotal source of influence on the implementation of treatment mandates”.  The most effective relationship seems to involve a positive working alliance balanced with aspects of procedural justice.  One recent study that looked at the relationship between the officer and the offender found that probation outcomes could be predicted by the quality of the dual-role relationship.  Many studies in other fields suggest that the style of the provider has a large impact on eventual client outcome.
  6. 6. ◦ Motivational Interviewing is a style of communication that involves strategic use of questions and statements to help clients find their own reasons for change. ◦ MI borrows from Client-Centered Counseling in its emphasis on empathy, optimism, and respect for client choice. ◦ MI also draws from Self-Perception Theory, which says that people become more or less interested in change based on how they talk about it (self-efficacy). *Also components of Social Construction Theory and Appreciative Inquiry* ◦ MI is logically connected to the Stages of Change model which says that people go through a sequence of stages when considering change. ◦ Studies show MI may be particularly useful for clients who are more oppositional or defiant, higher-risk, or otherwise less ready for change.
  7. 7. Because MI is a communication style, it is usually introduced as a set of stylistic principles:  1. Express Empathy – Involves a sincere attempt to understand the offender’s point of view.  2. Roll with Resistance – Avoiding arguments whenever possible and finding other ways to respond when challenged.  3. Develop Discrepancy – Working to elicit the offender’s own reasons for change.  4. Support Self-Efficacy – Emphasizes positive language and an environment that is supportive of change.
  8. 8.  Research supports MI’s effectiveness in areas such as: ◦ Drug and alcohol use ◦ Smoking cessation ◦ Medical compliance ◦ HIV risk behaviors ◦ Diet and exercise MI was significantly better than other approaches in three out of four studies and outperformed traditional advice-giving 80% of the time. Brief encounters of 15 minutes or less in 64% of studies showed a lasting effect using this method.
  9. 9.  There are at least 3 practical reasons to believe that MI might be applicable to a criminal justice setting and a community corrections settings in particular: 1. MI has a strong track record in areas that may be relevant to community corrections, such as preparing clients to engage in substance abuse treatment programs. 2. MI has been shown to be effective in other settings where provider-client interactions may be brief and multi-focused, such as medical consultations. 3. Large addiction treatment studies such as Project MATCH have reported similar effects of MI across offending and non-offending clients.
  10. 10.  Criminal justice agencies have begun training officers in MI by hosting one- to two- day workshops.  Due to the complexities of MI this may not be the ideal training format.   Competency in the MI style is achieved through long- term training that involves: ◦ Skill ◦ Practice ◦ Feedback
  11. 11.  There are eight critical stages in learning MI as outlined by Bill Miller and Teresa Moyers in 2006. ◦ The stages are considered sequential and outline the components necessary to become proficient in MI: Spirit Skills Strategies
  12. 12.  STAGE 1: The spirit of Motivational Interviewing. ◦ At its heart ♥, MI is  Collaborative  Evocative  Respectful of Autonomy The relationship between officer and offender is collaborative. MI focuses on a “strengths-based” approach. This means the officer believes the offender already has the capacity for positive behavior change. The officer works to evoke the individual’s own reasons, ideas and solutions about behavior change. Evocative dialogue is described in Robert Bolton’s “People Skills” as a non-coercive invitation to talk. (1979, p. 40)
  13. 13.  STAGE 2: OARS – Client-Centered Counseling Skills. ◦ Because the focus of MI is to draw out information from the offender, empathic listening is foundational. ◦  Empathy :  Is Not feeling sorry for the offender.  Is Not agreeing with their viewpoint.  Is a sincere attempt to listen to and understand the offender’s point of view. “Empathy is the third key quality than can enrich interpersonal communication. (Bolton, 1979, p. 269)
  14. 14.  STAGE 2: OARS – Client-Centered Counseling Skills. The officer demonstrates empathic listening through the use of:  Thoughtful questions  Reflective statements  Summaries “The good listener responds reflectively to what the speaker is saying. She restates, in her own words, the feelings and/or content that is being expressed-and in doing so, communicates understanding and acceptance.” (Bolton, 1979, p. 269)
  15. 15.  STAGE 2: OARS – Example  These statements tell the offender you’ve been listening and allows them to hear back what they’ve said. Unemployed Offender’s Statement Empathic Response “I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find a job. Nobody’s gonna hire a convicted felon.” “You feel that your conviction makes it more difficult to find a job.” OR “You’re frustrated. You feel stuck.”
  16. 16.  STAGE 2: OARS  Reflections can serve the following purposes: ◦ Focuses on the offender’s desire for change. ◦ Points out discrepancies in what they have said. ◦ OARS is an acronym for:  Open ended questions  Affirmations  Reflections  Summarizations “Open-ended question can assist the other explore material she might be unconscious of at the time.” (Katz, Lawyer, & Sweedler, 2011, p. 12)
  17. 17.  STAGES 3 and 4: Recognizing, Reinforcing, and Strengthening Change Talk. ◦ MI is goal directed. ◦ The goal is to help someone resolve ambivalence about behavior change. ◦ Traditional approaches relied on providing advice or suggestions. ◦ MI aims to have the client articulate his/her own reasons for change. ◦ “Change Talk” is client language that expresses a desire to change.
  18. 18.  STAGES 3 and 4: Recognizing, Reinforcing, and Strengthening Change Talk. ◦ The goal is to keep the person talking in the direction of change and to limit non-change talk. ◦ The skill involves not only responding to and reinforcing change talk, but also not responding to comments about not changing. ◦ This keeps the officer from falling into the trap of arguing with the person to change.
  19. 19. Examples of Change Talk “I really want to stop drinking” Desire to change “I guess my wife would help me” Ability to change “If I got a job I could pay my child support” Reasons for change “I need to do something about my drug use. It’s killing my body” Need to change “I’ll go to an AA meeting tonight” Commitment to change Eliciting Change Talk “What are some good things that might happen if you stop drinking?” Open-ended Question
  20. 20.  STAGE 5: Rolling with Resistance ◦ Resistance refers to talk that is focused against change – the opposite of change talk. ◦ Rolling with resistance is contrary to cognitive therapy techniques that focus on refuting such verbalizations. ◦ MI is neutral on whether these are thinking errors. ◦ MI believes calling attention to these thinking patterns is likely to get the opposite effect the officer is hoping for. ◦ MI posits that denial, argumentation, and resistance are largely a function of the provider’s communication style. ‘Because communication roadblocks carry a high risk of fostering negative results, their repeated use can cause permanent damage to a relationship” (Bolton, 1979, p. 15).
  21. 21.  STAGE 5: Rolling with Resistance ◦ In order to minimize resistance to change, officers first try to avoid arguments wherever possible. Strategies for Rolling with Resistance “It makes you angry because you don’t like to be told what to do.” Offering a reflection “Ultimately, it’s your choice. What do you want to do here?” Emphasizing the offender’s choice and control “It does bother you that people are in your business, but I appreciate the fact that you’re taking it seriously.” Reframing the resistance
  22. 22.  STAGE 5: Rolling with Resistance. ◦ This skill is probably one of the most difficult ones for officers. Officers tend to get stuck in refuting client resistance. ◦ In training, this skill is emphasized through practice responding to hypothetical client statements. ◦ It can be strengthened through examining audio or videotapes to see how and why arguments occur.
  23. 23.  STAGES 6 and 7: Developing and Consolidating Commitment to Change. ◦ As change talk progresses, the officer can progress from reinforcing change talk to developing a plan for change. ◦ There is a delicate balance in knowing when to push a client toward change as it may cause resistance. ◦Careful listening is the key.
  24. 24.  STAGES 6 and 7: Developing and Consolidating Commitment to Change. Questions that move offenders toward change “What do you want to do about that?” A question about change “How would you do that if you wanted to?” Asking about change in the hypothetical “There are a few things you might be interested in…..Which of these would you like to try?” Offering a menu of options “If a question helps the other elaborate his experience, then it is useful” (Katz, Lawyer, & Sweedler, 2011, p. 12)
  25. 25.  STAGES 6 and 7: Developing and Consolidating Commitment to Change. ◦ People are more likely to act on things they themselves have chosen. ◦ Advice giving takes a back seat. ◦ Elicit offender’s own ideas. ◦ Emphasize offender’s own responsibility in the change process. ◦ Training should focus on recognizing and consolidating “commitment talk” in the form of “I will” statements.
  26. 26.  STAGE 8: Switching between MI and Other Approaches. ◦ MI is frequently integrated into other approaches such as cognitive behavioral techniques, skills training, or education. ◦ Different tasks might call for different techniques but the overall style shouldn’t change. ◦ Officers have to decide what topics are important when and what can be left for another time. ◦ These decisions are best addressed through case planning, ongoing supervision and case reviews.
  27. 27.  Learning MI can be complicated.  Agencies frequently use one- to two- day training models that do not result in long-term skill changes.  In order to train officers in a comprehensive, effective way, the training format should include a workshop followed by feedback and/or coaching.
  28. 28.  MI is intended as an additional tool for officers to use in working with offenders.  MI is not a replacement for everything officers have learned, nor is it appropriate for all situations.  MI is considered in its infancy. Research projects are focused on the role and effectiveness of MI in the criminal justice setting.
  29. 29. MI Components that Parallel Mediation Spirit ◦ Collaborative approach. ◦ The belief in client self-efficacy. ◦ Practitioner’s respect for client autonomy. ◦ Emphases on empathy, optimism, and respect for client choice. ◦ Belief that people know what they need. ◦ Recognition of self esteem needs.
  30. 30. MI Components that Parallel Mediation Skills ◦ Reflective listening. ◦ Empathic listening. ◦ Eliciting useful information. ◦ Use of open-ended questions. ◦ Use of summarizations. ◦ Rolling with resistance (avoid arguing with the client).
  31. 31. MI Components that Parallel Mediation Strategies ◦ Rapport building. ◦ Strategic use of questions to elicit information. ◦ Elicit clients own reasons for change. ◦ Effective engagement. ◦ Use of positive language.
  32. 32. Works Cited Alexander, M., VanBenschoten, S. W., & Walters, S. T. (2008 ). Motivational Interviewing Training in Criminal Justice: Development of a Model Plan. Federal Probation: A journal of corectional philosophy and practice. Bolton, R. P. (1986). People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflict. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc. Katz, N., Lawyer, J. W., & Sweedler, M. K. (2011). Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.