Volume 2 Issue 2: August 2014 - Motivational Interviewing

Volume 2 Issue 2 of Practice: The New Zealand Corrections Journal focuses on Motivational Interviewing and includes:

  • Editorial - Nikki Reynolds, Chief Psychologist
  • Motivational Interviewing: A useful skill for correctional staff? - Dr Eileen Britt (PhD, PGDipClinPsych, MSocSci, BSc)
  • Motivational Interviewing and the bigger picture: Where is MI now? - Helen Mentha, Joel Porter
  • The ingredients of change: Combining Motivational Interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy in the Short Motivational Programme - Dr Mei Wah Williams, Dr Kevin P. Austin
  • Is the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA) a useful measure in detecting change in motivation? - Dr Mei Wah Williams, Abigail Yong
  • Motivational Interviewing in Corrections Medium Intensity Group Programmes - Lucy King
  • The north and south of Motivational Interviewing - Darius Fagan, Lis Owens, Tracey Maioha, Graham Dack
  • Corrections Pilots Motivational Partnership with Child, Youth and Family - Lauren Ball
  • Using Motivational Interviewing in a therapeutic group setting: Tales from the inside - Sheila Ayala, Steve Smithson
  • Motivational approaches in practice – a real life case management example - Sacha Thorby
  • Therapeutic communities: From a programme in a prison to the prison as the programme - Paul R. Whitehead
  • Promoting healthy choices: Motivational Interviewing for physical and mental health issues - Drs Marleen Verhoeven, Heidi Baxter, Debra Hayes and Dr Willem Louw
  • Book Review: Motivational Interviewing – Helping People Change (Third edition) - Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). New York: Guilford Press. Reviewed by: Leisa Adsett

You can download Volume 2 Issue 2 or read the editorial here:


Welcome to our issue on Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a therapeutic technique that is effective with a number of populations to whom
change would be beneficial. Internationally, practitioners are using it with individuals and groups to encourage and sustain change.

Here at Corrections in New Zealand, our psychologists have used motivational techniques for many years with measurable benefits, complementing other techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy. The success of MI in these settings has encouraged Corrections to train staff more widely in MI approaches and to develop a range of motivational interventions including the Short Motivational Programme (SMP), delivered by programme facilitators, and brief motivational interventions delivered by case managers and probation officers. Right Track, the programme developed for use by corrections officers, is based on MI. MI requires a good deal of training, practise and supervision before it delivers its full benefits, and Corrections is fortunate to have pockets of excellence, such as the Special Treatment Units, that are informing practice for the rest of the organisation. We expect that as we gain experience of MI as an organisation we will reap more benefits in helping to motivate offenders to change and to sustain that change.

We have put this issue of the Journal together to work equally well for those readers who want to read only those articles that are relevant to them, and for those readers who want to immerse themselves in the topic by reading the whole issue. For that reason each paper works as a ‘stand alone’ read. Some of the descriptions of MI may seem slightly repetitive, however, each has a slant that fits the topic of the article. We are lucky to have contributions from experts in Australia and NZ who have worked with and trained our Corrections staff. Helen Mentha and Joel Porter provide views on the current use of MI in other settings and Eileen Britt discusses how useful MI skills are in a correctional setting in NZ.

There are papers from Mei Wah Williams, Kevin Austin and Abigail Yong on the content of the SMP, and the use of the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale in measuring change by offenders in the SMP. These offer some suggestions to improve our practice.

There is a group of articles by Corrections staff which address the practical application of MI and provide case studies of the use of MI techniques by programme facilitators, case managers, probation officers, corrections officers and psychologists.

Paul Whitehead’s paper outlines the theory behind therapeutic communities used in the STUs; the prison becomes part of the programme in such communities, and the paper demonstrates how powerful MI can become when used by both custodial and therapy staff.

Lauren Ball gives an effective example of partnership where we have worked with Child, Youth and Family to provide a short motivational programme for young offenders. An article from our colleagues in Health demonstrates the use of MI techniques with physical and mental health patients.

Finally, there is a review of the book by the founders of MI, Miller and Rollnick. Overall, this issue provides a comprehensive and well-rounded look at the use of MI techniques in Corrections in NZ. By bringing all these aspects of our work together it becomes easy to see what exciting progress we have made in training staff to use such techniques consistently across the Department. Although there are still gains to be made, it is clear the Department and its staff are committed to providing the best possible interventions to offenders to help them become pro-social members of our society.

Nikki Reynolds
Chief Psychologist, Department of Corrections