Motivational interviewing skills front and centre in new opioids video series

Motivational interviewing is one of the most valuable communication skills for clinicians when discussing opioids with people living with chronic pain, and a new series of communication videos from NPS MedicineWise demonstrates some of the ways to utilise this technique in clinical settings.

This series of four educational videos aims to support effective conversations between health professionals and patients. The videos provide examples of interactions between patients and health professionals and demonstrate how best practice recommendations can be applied to individual patient circumstances. The videos were developed with funding from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and Australian Government Department of Health, and in collaboration with the Painaustralia Consumer Advisory Group.

The videos feature a multidisciplinary team of experts and people living with chronic pain.

“Motivational interviewing is one of the best evidenced communication techniques for helping patients to manage behaviour change when they are ‘stuck’, and this can apply to living with chronic pain and taking opioids,” says A/Prof Toby Newton-John, clinical psychologist and Deputy Head of School at the University of Technology Sydney.

“The spirit of motivational interviewing is collaborative - the patient is an expert on themselves, we work together to find their best solutions, and communication must always be done in a respectful way,” he says.

The videos cover the four principles behind motivational interviewing, including empathy and patient empowerment, and the five skills that underpin this practice.

“It’s about asking open ended questions and active listening,” says Dr Jill Thistlethwaite, medical advisor at NPS MedicineWise and GP.

“Show that you are listening and reflect back on what they say, so they know they are being heard,” she says.

“The language that doctors and health professionals use is so important,” said Leah Dwyer, consumer and member of Painaustralia Consumer Advisory Group.

“My health practitioner listened to how I was and made me really felt supported. Her empathy, honesty, openness made such a huge difference,” she said.

The series of videos is available on the NPS MedicineWise website.

Read more about opioids and chronic non-cancer pain.


    Media contact

    Matthew Harris, NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR adviser: (02) 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]