An evaluation of a brief motivational interviewing training course for HIV/AIDS counsellors in Western Cape Province, South Africa
HIV/AIDS counselling in South Africa covers a range of areas of prevention and treatment with a commonly used model of lay counsellors trained by non-governmental organisations and working alongside professionals in public health settings. This study presents a single group evaluation of a six-session (12-hour) course of Motivational Interviewing (MI) delivered to 17 HIV/AIDS lay counsellors working in peri-urban settings in Western Cape Province, South Africa. Counsellors reported that they used MI techniques both at the start and at the end of the training. In addition, they reported confidence in their ability to influence their clients' motivation at both time points. The results from the ratings of role play performance showed that there was a marked change in emphasis over the group of counsellors from MI non-adherent practice before training (with advice giving, directiveness, control and confrontation) to more MI adherent practice (asking permission before giving advice, emphasising client autonomy, affirming the client and stressing the client's responsibility to change) at the end of the training. Only a small proportion of the counsellors reached the level of beginning proficiency (according to the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity code) on the measure of the ratio of MI adherent to non-adherent responses. The ratio of reflections to questions and the percentage of open questions also showed improvements in performance across the group but generally to levels below that suggesting beginning proficiency in MI. There was no evidence of any change on global therapist ratings (of empathy and the spirit of MI, i.e. collaboration, evocation and autonomy support) or the percentage of complex reflections across the group of counsellors. Possible explanations for the results and public health implications are discussed. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.