Motivational Interviewing & the Stages of Change

participant talking with hands clasped

Motivational Interviewing is a person-centered strategy that providers can employ to support clients toward making positive changes in their lives. Through honest conversations that acknowledge how challenging it can be to embark on a journey of recovery, providers can help clients resolve ambivalence, stand up to insecurities, and implement necessary changes in their lives. In this two-hour session, attendees will gain insight into the foundations and key principles of motivational interviewing and learn specific strategies to encourage change. Presenters will also provide an overview of the Transtheoretical Model (aka The Stages of Change), which can be used in conjunction with Motivational Interviewing strategies. This session will invite attendees to reflect on their direct service work and consider use of this effective, evidence-based method with their clients.


12:45-1:00 PM | Virtual training room opens
1:00-1:10 PM   | Welcome & introductions
1:10-1:25 PM   | The secret ingredient of change and beliefs about motivation
1:25-2:00 PM   | The spirit of Motivational Interviewing, ambivalence, change talk & sustain talk, and resistance
2:00-2:10 PM   | Break
2:10-2:30 PM   | The core skills and processes of Motivational Interviewing
2:30-2:50 PM   | The Stages of Change
2:50-3:05 PM   | Putting skills into practice
3:05-3:15 PM   | Final thoughts, Q&A

Learning Objectives:

  1. Articulate the role of motivational interviewing in participant-centered care
  2. Define sustain talk and change talk as components of ambivalence
  3. Explain the OARS method of Motivational Interviewing

Target Audience: Social service providers and helping professionals with direct client contact. 
Social Work Practice Level: This course is appropriate for beginner and intermediate BSW/MSW learners. 
Course Delivery Format: Live webinar 
Interactivity: This course will offer real-time polling, group discussion prompts, and 10 minutes of Q&A time. 
Social Work Continuing Education Credit: 2 CE Credits* 
Fees: $25 general registration; additional $5 for registration with social work CE credit.

Registration includes access to the live event and recording, PDF of slides, and relevant training tip sheets/resources.

Session Facilitators: 

Renée Frink-Boyd, CPS (she/her), is a Training Specialist with Pathways to Housing PA’s training and educational initiative, Housing First University. Renée first came to Pathways in 2015 and served as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) on a non-fidelity Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team, where she focused on building meaningful connections with program participants with chronic health conditions. Later, she joined the Pathways’ Center of Excellence as a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Care Manager, where she assisted individuals with accessing MAT and MOUD services. Renée received her Peer Specialist certification in 2013. Her 10+ years of experience in the field includes working as an Employee Specialist at the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities, and as a CPS at Philadelphia area agencies including Horizon House and JFK Behavioral Health. Renée is passionate about building supportive peer relationships with individuals experiencing homelessness and managing co-occurring disorders.

Ryan Villagran, MSW, LSW (they/them), joined Housing First University in June 2021 as a Training Specialist. Ryan holds a Master of Social Work from Temple University with a concentration in Communities & Policy. Their clinical background includes delivering psychiatric rehabilitation services in the mental health recovery model at a Community Integrated Recovery Center. Ryan also developed and coordinated a training program in a university setting for social workers serving transitional-aged youth and later taught a Human Behavior in the Social Environment course for graduate social work students. Ryan believes in the power of our collective imagination to dream of a better future centered around those on the margins.

ACE approval statement: Housing First University: a program of Pathways to Housing PA, provider #1759, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 01/12/2022 - 01/12/2025. Social workers completing this course receive 2 clinical continuing education credits.

*Housing First University, a program of Pathways to Housing PA, can provide continuing education credits to licensed social workers in 48 of the 50 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces. Due to current regulations, CE credits cannot be offered to social workers in the states of New Jersey or New York. If you are not a Licensed Social Worker, please check with your board of accreditation to ensure this training meets your licensing needs.

To request an accessibility accommodation, please email:

For questions or comments, please contact: 
Ryan Villagran, LSW 
Continuing Education Director 
Housing First University, a program of Pathways to Housing PA (215) 390-1500, ext. 1430