Motivational interviewing and social work education: The power of relationship based practice


  • Heidi Dix University Campus Suffolk, Lincoln



Motivational interviewing is increasingly recognised as an effective intervention within health and social care settings. It has an established evidence base which appeals to commissioners of services in this time of austerity and also has links with relationship-based practice which has seen a resurgence in the literature in recent years. This article outlines the key principles of motivational interviewing and the influences that can assist behavioural change and explores how this approach can be transferred to practice education. It suggests that motivational interviewing, which is founded on principles of person centred and partnership working, can be utilised by both health and social workers who operate as practice educators. In order accurately to assess the knowledge and skills of students in accordance with the requirements of the relevant professional body, practice educators need effectively to engage with students. This article suggests that adhering to the ‘spirit’ of motivational interviewing and adopting some of the tools and techniques which form the basis of this approach, can assist practice educators to develop effective relationships with students. The principles and philosophy of motivational interviewing in supervision sessions can assist practice educators to develop student confidence, self-awareness and if necessary engage in a process of change.

Author Biography

Heidi Dix, University Campus Suffolk, Lincoln

Lecturer in Social Work,  Dept for Psychology, Sociology and Social Work


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How to Cite

Dix, H. (2016). Motivational interviewing and social work education: The power of relationship based practice. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 14(1), 59-72.