Applying motivational interviewing within educational psychologist consultations

  • Louise Jones

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Background: Educational psychologists’ (EPs’) shared understanding of consultation’s practical and psychological complexity has resulted in a lack of clarity and consensus around its definition and application. Literature suggests motivational interviewing (MI) could be used in EP consultative practice, although this has yet to be empirically investigated. Methods/ participants: Paper one is a systematic literature review (SLR) consisting of ten international papers, spanning a ten-year period. It considers how EPs are using consultation within their current practice, to support children and young people. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) guidelines were used as a framework for consultation analysis. The second paper is an empirical investigation into the integration of MI into current EP consultative practice. Three qualified EPs took part in semi-structured interviews, which were thematically analysed. Analysis/ findings: The NASP consultation framework provided a clear outline of strengths and weaknesses within current EP practice, including highlighting a limited shared professional understanding of what consultation is and of EPs’ conceptualisation and use of collaboration within practice. The empirical study demonstrated that the application of MI into consultative practice was more difficult than anticipated and that EPs' proficiency in MI may have posed a barrier to integration within consultation. Conclusion/ implications: The SLR and empirical investigation both yielded implications for practice and a consideration of the limitations is given, alongside future directions. Paper one presents the NASP guidelines in an accessible format, beside guidelines to support reflection within supervision and practice. Paper two offers suggestions for supporting the integration of MI into consultative practice, by considering the need to improve EP training in MI and support MI and consultation integration use via better systems. Both papers’ findings have been subject to dissemination via conference presentation and discussion among EP colleagues.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCatharine Atkinson (Supervisor) & Hannah Cartmell (Supervisor)

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