Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

SOWK510 Advanced Social Service Counselling

Introduction to key theories and techniques of social services counselling with particular application to mid-career social workers and other social service professionals.

The goal of this paper is to teach students the central theoretical and empirical tenets of motivational interviewing (MI), as well as the clinical skills necessary to deliver the intervention to a wide range of clients in diverse settings. Students will learn and practise both the spirit and techniques of motivational interviewing. The MI skills are applicable in any setting, including but not limited to social work, healthcare, public health, criminal justice, education and general mental health. The paper will explore the four processes of MI, comprising: engagement, focusing, evoking and planning. Theories of behaviour change will be briefly explored as well as the impact of brief intervention models.

Paper title Advanced Social Service Counselling
Paper code SOWK510
Subject Social Work
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,482.25
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

Limited to
Admission subject to approval from Head of the Social and Community Work Programme.

Teaching staff

 To be confirmed when offered again.

Paper Structure


  • Foundations of MI
  • Four processes
  • OARS-opening strategies
  • Focusing
  • Exploring ambivalence
  • Change talk, sustain talk: recognising and responding
  • Dancing with discord
  • Providing information, education, and advice MI style
  • Strengthening commitment and planning for change
Teaching Arrangements

The paper will be taught as an on-campus intensive course in Dunedin - with full-day seminars Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for two consecutive weeks - and will include some online activities and assessments.


Required: Rosengren, D. B. (2017). Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: a practitioner workbook, 2nd Edition. Guilford Press: New York, NY.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge-Based Outcomes

  • To describe the principles of motivational interviewing and the fundamental concept of the spirit of motivational interviewing
  • To explain and critically engage with the theoretical and empirical functions of motivational interviewing

Skills-Based Outcomes

  • To demonstrate an ability to practise motivational interviewing skills and spirit within a social work setting
  • To identify and implement aspects of motivational interviewing and their applicability to diverse client populations and behaviours

^ Top of page


Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system