The process of motivational interviewing with offenders : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Motivational interviewing (MI) is a form of client-centred psychotherapy that resolves
ambivalence and elicits motivation to change problem behaviours (Miller & Rollnick,
2009). An emerging theory suggests that MI works through the combination of a
relational component and the goal directed application of MI methods to evoke and
reinforce change talk (Miller & Rose, 2009).
A process study was conducted on an adaptation of MI for offenders, the Short
Motivational Programme (SMP). The SMP combines MI and cognitive behavioural
content across five sessions to enhance motivation for change among medium risk
offenders (Devereux, 2009). A single-case design and descriptive statistics were
employed and supplemented with inferential statistics. The MI Skills Code 2.1 (Miller,
Moyers, Ernst, & Amrhein, 2008) was used to rate the language of 12 facilitators and 26
offenders during 98 video-recorded SMP sessions.
There was some evidence that facilitators were less able to use specific MI methods
during sessions that included cognitive behavioural content. Offenders’ ambivalence
about changing offending behaviour was most pronounced during sessions that included
cognitive behavioural content. Offenders’ change and committing change talk was highest
during sessions without cognitive behavioural content. Offenders who completed the
SMP with more commitment to change demonstrated less ambivalence during earlier
sessions. The relational component of MI appeared to be related to whether offenders
completed the SMP. There was some evidence to support a relationship between the use
of MI consistent methods and offender change talk. The use of MI inconsistent methods
and a lack of MI consistent methods were related to ambivalence about changing criminal
behaviour and premature exit from the SMP. These results suggested that facilitators
should judiciously avoid the use of MI inconsistent methods and strategically employ MI
consistent methods to reduce offenders’ ambivalence about change. The integration of
cognitive behavioural content and MI needs to be carefully considered in reference to the
aim of each session, the subsequent session, and the programme’s overall goal.
Content removed due to copyright restrictions:
Austin, K.P., Williams, M.W.M., Kigour, G. (2011). The effectiveness of motivational interviewing with offenders: an outcome evaluaion. New Zealand Journal Of Psychology, 40(1), 55-67.