and Cathy Cole have developed an impactful DVD series on Motivational Interviewing (MI). This 2012 series illustrates how motivational interviewing is a counseling approach to improve how counselors and clients have conversations. These DVDs are up-to-date and current with a natural flow to the interview conversations.  The DVDs serve as a resource to introduce counselors-in-training to MI. Furthermore, the series is a refresher for counselors who have been trained in the past and need a thought- provoking experience to reaffirm the positive impact that this Rogerian-focused technique can provide.  The process reinforces client autonomy as the counselor and client join together to create a matrix for change.  Rather than the counselor being an ‘expert,’ Cole states that it is important to ask permission of the client to share information. The four part series covers the core principles of increasing importance, building confidence, and resolving ambivalence.

The first DVD, Motivational Interviewing Step by Step: Core Concepts, provides the viewer with the building blocks for conducting a MI along with the rational for each step. Victor Yalom and Cathy Cole have a smooth style of walking the viewer through the process and their conversations are highlighted by simple graphics to reinforce the basic points. The DVDs also are good to just listen to on a long drive to enhance the learning experience. For example, Cole talks about the mnemonic of those “DARN CATS” and how following these steps can result in a beneficial conversation.

Motivational Interviewing Step by Step: Building Confidence is the second DVD and helps to instill confidence in both the client and the counselor. The four principles of MI: (1) expressing empathy, (2) developing discrepancy, (3) rolling with resistance/reflecting discord, and (4) supporting self-efficacy are explained and illustrated throughout the series with clear and logical examples.

The third DVD is Motivational Interviewing Step by Step: Increasing Importance. The disc has three excellent counseling sessions by Cole who brings to life the importance of various points.  For example, too often a counselor when confused about an issue will revert to asking question after question.  Cole demonstrates that continued reflection is important so that the client does not feel ‘grilled.’ 

The fourth DVD, Motivational Interviewing Step by Step: Resolving Ambivalence, encourages the counselor to assist the client in using what is known by the client and then encouraging that more information be sought.  MI helps the client explore ambivalence and look at different resources and information, which may help the client explore their thoughts. The series also is strong as it provides examples for various work environments for counselors such as EAP or agency. The clients are in various stages of counseling from initial intake to established clients so the viewers get a broad understanding of MI. 

Overall, the series is well produced, informative and helps the viewer form a clear understanding of the motivational interviewing (MI) approach. Within the DVDs there are helpful meta-processing comments regarding the counseling sessions. The accompanying manuals also have wonderfully constructed discussion questions, informational summaries and transcripts of the sessions.

Motivational interviewing step by step (4 DVD series) [DVD]. (Director) (2012). Available in DVD and Video Streaming at

Reviewed by: Matthew Mims, NCC, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska.

The Professional Counselor Journal