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Behaviour Change Counselling: Motivational Interviewing

News about a forthcoming course likely to be of interest to health psychology trainees – and others.

One Day course in Motivational Interviewing – Coventry University – June 2016

This course is suitable for anyone working within an environment that supports people with change-behaviour such as public health practitioners, clinical, sport and health psychologists, social workers, nurses and allied health and social care professionals. The course is also suitable for academics and students who are interested in developing their clinical skills. No previous experience is necessary. A CPD certificate is included.

About the Trainer: Dr Charlotte Hilton is a Chartered Psychologist with a background in clinical and health psychology and public health. Charlotte works across a range of health and social care settings delivering quality, evidence-based training and research services including support with the evaluation of health interventions. Charlotte is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).

What to Expect from the Course: This 1-day course will help trainees to understand how to support people to change a variety of health related behaviours such as physical inactivity and smoking for example. Training comprises a variety of learning methods such as short lectures, workshops, video consultation examples and plenty of opportunity to practice developing skills. Examples of the application of MI to the specific settings in which trainees work are also provided to help contextualise the skills. Trainees will complete the course with a good understanding of the process of behaviour change and the skills needed to start to integrate MI into routine conversations with clients/patients.

Date and Location: Friday 10th June 2016 9:30-4:30 at Coventry University in Jaguar Building room JA128.
External delegates £200 – to book a place go to: https://www.eventsforce.net/cu/3276/register
Current CU students and CU graduates £100 if you are currently enrolled on a course at Coventry University or if you are a graduate of Coventry University. To book a place email the Health and Social Care Unit at hscu.hls@coventry.ac.uk
For more information follow the Motivational Interviewing Network Coventry University (MINCU) blog at http://mincu12.wordpress.com/introductory-training/
Informal Enquiries: Dr Charlotte Hilton Email: charlotte.hilton@coventry.ac.uk

Increasing physical activity and healthy eating behaviours in South Asian communities

The health psych team is sending our best wishes to colleague Krishna Bhatti who will be presenting her research at next week’s BPS Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference.  Krishna’s poster will present findings from her pilot of a culturally adapted theoretically based intervention to increase physical activity and healthy eating behaviours in South Asian communities.  Krishna did this work as part of her Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.


If you check out the academic programme for the conference you’ll get a sense of the wide range of topics covered by health psychology.

Using apps in health psychology – meeting 21st November

Coventry University’s Health Psychology local interest group is hosting a guest talk and discussion on the use of (smartphone/tablet/web) apps in Health Psychology. This will include a presentation from Kristina Curtis about the development of her app for childhood obesity as well as a discussion of some of the key benefits and challenges to using apps.

This will be on 21st November at lunchtime (exact time and location to be confirmed shortly).

The meeting is being organised by Dr Naomi Bartle under the auspices of the Midlands Health Psychology Network Local Interest Group (MHPNLIG!)

High scores for the behaviour change taxonomy teams


This week our undergraduate health psychology students have been looking at taxonomies of health behaviour change techniques – what they are, why we need them, and how to use them. A taxonomy (in the general sense) is a system for classifying things according to their distinguishing features.  Such classification systems have been used for everything from Catholic saints to Australian motion pictures.

To the health psychologist, a good taxonomy is a list which classifies the active ingredients that might form part of a behaviour change intervention. This might include, for example:

  • Providing people with information on the link between behaviour and health (e.g. telling people that smoking causes lung disease, that vaccination can protect from childhood illness, etc.)
  • Encouraging people to identify as a role model for others (e.g. encouraging parents to eat well and avoid smoking in order to set a good example for their children)
  • Giving people rewards contingent on their performing the desired behaviour (e.g. giving people a shopping voucher every time they pass a breath test that shows they’ve not smoked recently)

We need taxonomies to help us work out what the individual ingredients are in any programme or intervention. Knowing what the different parts are that make up the whole programme can help us test each part separately. Then we can focus on providing those active ingredients (programme components) that really work, and save money by leaving out components that don’t make any difference to the outcome.

There are lots of different lists and taxonomies available. For the undergraduate coursework we have chosen the taxonomy of 26 behaviour change techniques published by Abraham & Michie (2008). In today’s seminars we had a gentle competition to see which team (s) performed best at recognising the 26 techniques on the taxonomy. Scores were very impressive so this bodes well for students’ performance in the upcoming assignment.

Watch the eyes: Health psychology and machines that go ‘ping’


Think of psychological research and the image that comes to mind might be completing a questionnaire, looking at some inkblots or perhaps participating in a bizarre social experiment.  Psychological research methodologies encompass a much wider range of techniques and approaches. Some may seem deceptively low tech – such as focus groups and individual interviews, diaries and participant observations. However, health psychologists increasingly draw on information technology, social media and sophisticated electronic devices to conduct their research and put their theories into practice.

In the past year alone, students on the MSc health psychology did independent and collaborative research using interviews/focus groups to explore a range of topics including

  • The attitudes of healthcare staff to providing positive birth experiences
  • Academic midwifery perspectives on teaching about maternal obesity
  • The experience of early stage dementia sufferers and their partners
  • Barriers and facilitators to health promotion for South Asian people
  • Young women’s beliefs about long-acting reversible contraception
  • Service users and providers’ perspectives on stress management through vocational rehabilitation in schizophrenia
  • South Asian fathers’ perspectives on childhood obesity

Previous students have used online surveys and studies of internet discussion forums to explore the experiences of patients and their families, for example, what it is like to be an elderly person whose adult son or daughter becomes increasingly disabled by multiple sclerosis.

Some of our outgoing MSc health psych students also designed a smart phone app to improve self management for adolescent boys with type 1 diabetes. An important consideration was that the app should work on the latest and most desirable mobile handset.

We already have close links with staff in the University’s Applied Research Centre in Health & Lifestyle Interventions, where numerous projects have harnessed technology to address issues as diverse as breastfeeding and adolescent sexual health. For 2013/14 we are hoping to work more closely with the university’s Health Design & Technology Institute and Serious Games Institute, with a view to realising some of the products our MSc students have designed.

Meanwhile we’ve welcomed a new piece of kit to Psychology & Behavioural Sciences in the form of an advanced eye tracker. There is a lot of scope for staff and postgraduate research using this facility.  Being able to trace and record accurately where a person’s eyes are roaming is an excellent adjunct to more traditional research methods.  For example, we can ask research participants whether they attend to nutritional information that’s presented on food labels or restaurant menus. Now we’ll be able to check what they actually look at and for how long. We might also be able to find out how people really navigate through health information websites, interact with health behaviour change apps and so on. Just need to check if the machine that makes all of this possible really does go ‘ping’.

Small print: This isn’t our actual machine – it is too fresh out of the packaging to be cornered for a photograph. Pic courtesy of wiki commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eyetracker1.jpg

Intervention Mapping Workshop – no Danish but seemed to go well!


Click on this graph for a clearer view

Thanks very much to everyone who made our Behaviour  Change Training Workshop on Intervention Mapping (11 September) such a success.  Despite the unfulfilled promise of Danish pastries (which never did turn up but will be posted out to participants if they do), the day seemed to go very well.

We ask participants to self-rate their confidence in each of the workshop’s key learning outcomes: before the workshop begins and again at the end of the day.  The numbers are small and I haven’t done any statistical testing, but a preliminary look at the data suggests that the training left participants feeling more confident in all areas of intervention design.

Looking forward to our next workshop which is likely to be in early 2014.  If you’d like us to run one sooner please let us know.

Best wishes

Carol P

Hitting the road

Just heading home after an enjoyable (but rather hot) day facilitating the motivational interviewing behaviour change workshop.  Thank you very much to all involved.  Links to online forum, videos and evaluation to follow.  Here’s a short video to whet your appetite meantime…


Evaluation of our Health Behaviour Change Workshop on Thursday


Nice results from our Health Behaviour Change Workshop on Thursday. Participants’ confidence in their knowledge and skills in applying cognitive behavioural approaches to physical health problems increased across the board. More details to follow.

Thank you VERY much to everyone who took part. Will be emailing you some follow-up materials soon.

Carol P

CPD: Health Behaviour Change Workshops Coventry 2013


Looking forward to meeting those of you who will be attending our Health Behaviour Change Workshop on Cognitive Behavioural Approaches tomorrow. 

The health psychology team in Psychology & Behavioural Sciences at Coventry University offer health behaviour change workshops to provide continuing professional development for psychologists and other professionals. At present we offer training in the following areas:

Bespoke versions of these workshops can be provided for interested groups and organisations.  If interested, please contact hscu.hls@coventry.ac.uk

Motivational interviewing workshop 20th June – open for bookings

Our next on-campus MI workshop will be on 20th June 2013. For further details or to book a place click here.

For some evidence on the effectiveness of our training, click here.