Motivational Interviewing Training Program

About The Program

The Motivational Interviewing (MI) Training Program, directed by Allen Zweben, Ph.D., aims to equip and strengthen individuals’ capacity to implement evidence-based, collaborative, person-centered communication skills into diverse settings among a variety of populations. The program consists of webinars, workshops, and conferences in which practitioners develop and hone fundamental MI strategies to apply in agency settings and managers learn and enhance MI leadership skills in organizational settings.

The program workshops incorporate a training model that emphasizes an experiential learning process, with an emphasis on practical role playing exercises and limited didactic instruction. The training is personally immersive and highly interactive, using personal and case examples of behavior change and interdisciplinary collaboration. The goal of experiential learning is to scaffold trainee’s learning toward a more purposeful and practical use of MI skills. This new learning process will draw upon trainee’s current knowledge and experiences and at the same time will challenge prior knowledge and assumptions using relevant experiential-based methods.

What Is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative, person-centered communication style. Historically, MI skills were derived from pioneer social work practitioners who demonstrated the importance of genuineness, rapport building, accurate empathy, and understanding and acceptance of differing viewpoints with the purpose of identifying priorities and setting goals in pursuit of behavioral change. In accordance with the core values of social work, MI practitioners emphasize empowering individuals through forging a collaborative partnership and shared decision-making as essential components to the process of behavioral change. MI affirms strengths, reinforces motivation and commitment, fosters optimism, and practices unconditional acceptance of the individual.  MI has been empirically tested in a wide variety of contexts and settings with diverse populations; research findings show MI to have a positive impact on the individuals served.


Allen, Zweben, Ph.D., Director

Allen Zweben, Ph.D. is currently Professor Emeritus and Director of Motivational Training Program at Columbia University, School of Social Work in New York City where he has been conducting and testing a MI skills-based lab project for incoming social work students. Dr. Zweben has been an active researcher in the addictions field for more than 40 years. His contributions to the addiction field have involved developing, adapting, and testing innovative behavioral treatments and medications for alcohol-related problems. Dr. Zweben has been principal investigator in large scale, multi-site, collaborative, NIH-funded clinical trials.

With regard to motivational interviewing, he played a key role in developing and testing motivational enhancement therapy (MET), a brief intervention that employed motivational Interviewing strategies for alcohol-related problems. MET was tested and found to be a promising approach in a landmark study known as Project MATCH. Consequently, MET has become a behavioral platform in numerous behavioral and pharmacological studies. MET has also been employed and adapted in community agencies serving individuals having addiction and related problems.

Dr. Zweben has had extensive experience in training social workers, nurses, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and students from a variety of disciplines in motivational interviewing. He recently co-authored the second edition of “Treating Addiction: A Guide for Professionals” with Bill Miller and Alyssa Forcehimes. Dr. Zweben has been a member of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) since its inception.



COVID-19 ACTION | TRAININGS | Tailoring Motivational Interviewing (MI) for COVID-19 Issues
Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Medication Management: Old Problem, New Solutions

To learn more about the CSSW Students MI Skills-Based Lab Program: New Lab Grounds First-Year MSW Students In Motivational Interviewing