The role of Motivational Interviewing in Working with Family Violence

Resolving ambivalence and developing motivation is a key aspect of engagement into Men’s Behaviour Change (MBC) programs. Given that most men referred to programs are mandated either formally or informally through pressure from family, friends or significant others in their lives, then this is even more critical. Even those who appear willing at the start can push back once confronted with having to change behaviour.

Ken McMaster (NZ) and Helen Mentha (Australia), internationally known trainers in MI, will take an exploratory approach to expand thinking and sharpen focus regarding MI concepts, skills and applications in relation to intervention in family violence. They will integrate concepts from positive psychology, cognitive science and grit to design and facilitate powerful learning experiences. Come expecting to learn something new, try something different, and walk away feeling energized and challenged.

In this two-day workshop, we will explore a nuanced approach that blends the key principles of motivational interviewing in working in the family violence field. By the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  • Develop strategies to enhance engagement and retention in interventions
  • Respond to ambivalence and discord in participants who are mandated to attend programs
  • Assist participants to identify concrete change goals that relate to family wellbeing and safety
  • Develop strategies to explore motivation and meaning for positive behaviour change within family relationships
  • Identify how our own personal judgements may impact the work and ways to maintain and model prosocial interactions.

Target Audience
Practitioners who are currently working with those who perpetrate family violence and want to significantly increase their engagement skills, including psychologists, social workers, counsellors, marriage and family therapists, substance abuse professionals, health care providers and allied professionals, criminal justice workers, educators, and peer counsellors.


Ken McMaster, M.S.W. (Hons), Memberships: A.N.Z.A.S.W., N.Z.A.T.D.,
Ken has over thirty-five years’ experience working at the cutting edge of intervention work with men who are violent and who sexually abuse. He is known for his innovative practice ideas and the ability to translate theory into practice. Ken was a member of the working party for the Respondent Program Regulation for the Domestic Violence Act (1995). He has worked as a part-time lecturer in Social Work at Canterbury University and is now involved full-time with HMA as manager, writer of materials and principal trainer. He has been a member of the Domestic Violence Act Program Approvals Committee for the Ministry of Justice.

Ken McMaster has published two books on Domestic Violence – A Private Affair, GP Books: Wellington (1989) and Feeling Angry, Playing Fair, Reed: Auckland, (1988). He has co-edited a book with Arthur Wells titled Innovative Approaches to Stopping Family Violence, Steele Roberts: Wellington (2003), and with Leon Bakker titled Will they do it again: Assessing and managing risk, HMA Books: Christchurch (2006). In 2011 Ken co-edited with David Riley Effective Interventions with Offenders, Steele Roberts: Wellington (2011). For more inforamtion on Ken and his work, go to

Helen Mentha M.Psych (Clinical), MAPS
The workshop will be co-facilitated by Helen Mentha, to support individual learning and skill development. Helen is a clinical psychologist and one of Australia’s leading trainers in MI, with a strong reputation for providing evidence-based and practical training in a safe, positive and relaxed learning environment. With over twenty years’ experience, Helen specialised in working with addiction, with a focus on community health, mental health and forensic settings. She currently runs her own practice providing counselling, training and supervision. Helen is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and has completed annual training overseas since 2007 to continually deepen and extend her knowledge and skills in a broad range of applications of MI. She also served on the MINT board from 2016-2018.

Workshop details
The workshop will be held on the lower level of the Van Raay Centre at Ceres Environment Park in Room 1 (Rooms 2-4 combined). Registration opens at 8.45 for a 9.15 start.

Registration includes morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea, as well as GST. Please register only if you able to attend both days. Free parking is available onsite on in nearby streets if the carpark is full. We recommend arriving by 9.00 to ensure parking. The venue is also close to the 96 tram on Nicholson St.

Mentha Consulting is committed to supporting positive community initiatives. Venue and catering fees support the work of the Ceres Environmental Park. For more information on Ceres go to

All registrations include a non-refundable fee of $100 up to 7 days of the workshop commencement. Workshop registrations are not refundable within 7 days of the workshop commencement.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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