Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Motivating healthier lifestyles

02 November 2009

People discussing paper

Some of the UK’s leading health and social care experts will descend on Cardiff this week to discuss ways of using a University developed method which helps motivate people to adopt more positive and healthier lifestyles.

The conference, organised jointly by the University’s Department of Primary Care and Public Health, the South East Wales Trials Unit and Wales Centre for Health, will focus on the health and social benefits of applying Motivational Interviewing (MI) - a counselling method developed to enhance people’s motivation to change their behaviour.

The method, developed jointly by Professor Stephen Rollnick, of the School of Medicine and Professor William Miller from the University of New Mexico, differs from other methods as it enables behaviour change by helping people explore and resolve ambivalence. The method works by having a focused and goal-directed message.

The subject of over 170 randomised controlled trials, the technique is considered as one of the best evidence-based practice for changing negative health habits, as well as helping people overcome social adversity.

Professor Stephen Rollnick from the School of Medicine’s Department of Primary Care and Public Health, who jointly developed the MI method said: "Motivational Interviewing has become one of the best evidence-based methods for promoting healthier behaviour in a number of settings.

"By enhancing and helping people’s motivation to change, the method can be applied in a number of different social and health settings, and is being applied in different settings across the world.

"The method has been used successfully to help people recover from drink and alcohol problems, as well as stopping smoking and help motivate people to change their lives in a positive way."

The conference will bring together health and social care experts from across the UK and will hear from those who successfully used the technique in a variety of health and social care settings including helping people with diabetes, supporting families, smoking cessation and people with mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction.

The conference will be addressed by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas AM and Kate Billingham from the UK’s Department of Health.

One of the many ways that the method has been applied successfully is in supporting teenage mothers in England to become better parents.

The ‘Building Blocks’ programme is a Department of Health project which offers support to vulnerable young English parents from early pregnancy until the child is two years old.

The programme is delivered by specially trained nurses drawn mainly from health visiting and midwifery backgrounds, who apply the technique to help improve the health and well-being of both the child and mother during pregnancy, at birth and in early childhood in comparison to standard universal services.

Professor Rollnick added: "The conference will unite a cross section of health and social care professionals.

"People struggling against adversity, be this deeply personal or aggravated by disadvantage, deserve a quality of care that is based on listening and respect for the autonomy of the person to realize their potential and promote a healthier and more positive lifestyle – this method helps us do that."

Motivational Interviewing: Into Better Services takes place on the 3rd and 4th November at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Newport Road, Cardiff.

Further information is available at:

Related links