Full-day workshops are a popular format for training professionals in new counseling or intervention approaches. Their advantages include the ability to provide a concentrated jump-start to the learning process, the chance to train a large group of staff members at the same time, and cost containment regarding the expenses of bringing in an out-of-town trainer.
At the same time, training research and the consensus of expert trainers in MI agree that, while workshops can result in the acquisition of new skills, those skills are unlikely to be maintained without further coaching, feedback, or training opportunities. In their ground-breaking EMMEE (Evaluating Methods for Motivational Enhancement Education) study published in 2004, Drs. William R. Miller, Carolina Yahne, Theresa Moyers and colleagues found that gains from an MI workshop were sustained only when participants received any of the forms of follow-up being offered—whether structured feedback on recorded practice samples, telephone coaching, or the combination of the two. A review by Schwalbe, Oh, and Zweben published in 2014, which analyzed 21 MI training studies, confirmed this finding.
Various options are available for training follow-up. One is a "2+1" workshop model, in which two days of MI training are followed 1-2 months later by another in-person day, during which initial challenges and successes in putting newly learned MI skills into practice become the basis for further development and strengthening of skills. A second is a telephone consultation model, in which workshop participants participate in a pre-determined number of group telephone coaching sessions in the months following workshop attendance. Other options, in which individual practice feedback and telephone coaching are provided, are more labor and cost-intensive but approximate the best practice approaches used in training clinicians to proficiency standards in research studies.