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.”

Numerous meta-analyses demonstrate its effectiveness of. motivational interviewing, 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 course employs interactive 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 class
  • Week Two: Interactive web-based learning program
  • Week Three: 90-minute class
  • Week Four: Small group field work
  • Week Five: 90-minute class
  • Week Six: Small group field work
  • Week Seven: 90-minute class

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


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.

I think that BAP will make me a more effective coach for my clients. It's a simple yet very effective method to help someone work towards their health and wellness goals.

- K. B.