Implementing motivational interviewing in adult mental health social work practice: an analysis of postgraduate student assessed placement reports

Tracy Almond, Sara Ward, Martin Paul Webber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivational interviewing is commonly taught on social work qualifying programmes as it is a core skill which practitioners can use in a variety of practice settings. However, the extent to which students can apply it in their practice learning placements is rarely evaluated. This paper reports a content analysis of a random selection of postgraduate social work students’ practice learning placement reports (n = 16) to assess the extent to which they were able to apply it in their practice. The findings revealed many examples of students’ adherence to motivational interviewing principles and practice, facilitated by their self-reported knowledge and confidence in using the approach. However, the analysis also found some students who struggled to utilize it because of a poor understanding or a practice context that mitigated against its use. Therefore, although it is possible to train social work students to use motivational interviewing in their practice learning, further evaluations are required to assess their use of it in their post-qualifying practice and the outcomes of this for service users.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Work Education
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2023

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