Saturday, January 1, 2011

What do I need to consider for audio recording a motivational interviewing session?

When setting up the process for recording sessions for MITI coding, consider the following:

Inform your clients

Orient your clients

Simply state to your clients that you are developing motivational interviewing skills or state that you are doing quality assurance of your motivational interviewing skills.  As part of this process you will be recording sessions and then submitting the audio for review.  Tell them that the reviewer essentially listens for words, sentences and questions from the counselor and client that are consistent with motivational interviewing.  Tell them that for example it is better in motivational interviewing to ask open ended questions instead of closed questions and give them an example of each.  This will not only reassure the client about the recordings but should actually help them feel confident your your skills knowing that there is a specific framework you use in your counseling.

Record all the time

If you get in the habit of recording all your sessions and simply recording over your previous session(s) the recording process will move into the background of your counseling process.  If you come up to a client and say this is the day I will be recording our session then the recording process is obvious and you may not have a session that is a reflection of your "typical" motivational interviewing abilities.


Depending upon your context and focus, you may need a release of information to submit a motivational interviewing session for MITI coding.  It is your responsibility to make sure you have all the proper releases completed before recording your sessions.

Digital Recordings of Motivational Interviewing Sessions

Sending an mp3 file via secure email is infinitely easier than keeping track of tapes, mailing them, waiting for them to arrive then waiting for me to send them back.  

Not just any digital recorder will do, however.  You want to look for a digital recorder that allows you to transfer the files to your computer.  Look for terms like "removable SD card" or "USB port" in the description.  You may need to purchase a card reader or USB cable to connect your digital recorder to your computer depending on the model.

Make sure your computer is secure

You want to treat audio recordings -- whether digital or on a tape -- just like you do any clinical record.  Make sure they are secure and that no one other than you has access.  When in doubt about a situation, just ask yourself if the record was written would you be doing what you are doing.  HIPAA, 42CFR and other confidentiality regulations apply equally to audio recordings as they do to written documentation.

Send client data only via secure email and upload motivational interviewing audios through Secure Drawer

You will need my digital ID and should follow the instructions for sending secure email outlined in another FAQ in this section. You will need to contact me and I will create a user account for you on Secure Drawer.


Follow by Email

Confidential and Private Email

Confidential and Private Email
Download my Verisign Digital ID for secure messaging

Send Audio Files Securely

Send Audio Files Securely
Clients: login to Secure Drawer to upload your motivational intervewing session audio safely

About Me

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Scott Graham

After receiving two undergraduate degrees from the University of South Florida (one in Psychology and one in Communication) I worked with at-risk kids then moved to New England to work as Counselor and Outward Bound Instructor.

(I had hiked the Appalachian Trail by myself a few years earlier so the opportunity to be in the wilderness and get paid was a dream-come-true).

Working with Outward Bound and other wilderness / adventure schools was great and it was here that I honed my abilities to help people tap into more then they thought they had.  It was here that I really learned to coach.

After a few years of working wilderness courses from Florida-to-Oregon I entered graduate school where I earned a degree in Management.  Along the way I achieved certification and faculty status with the William Glasser Institute.  Glasser's techniques grounded in Lead Management and Choice Theory help people identify what they really want and develop more effective ways to get it and is the primary model I use in coaching.  

I returned to Outward Bound for a short time as the Assistant Program Director of an Urban Center in Boston with the focus of developing therapeutic health services.  The pull of what had become my home was great however and I eventually returned to the country to work in Vermont.

I started working in a substance abuse treatment program through the Vermont Department of Corrections, called ISAP, and was eventually promoted to Program Director.  While working in the ISAP Program, I  was the architect of a consistent treatment design which I implemented statewide at nine sites.

Along the way I started 2 businesses:, LLC and Willoughby Forest, LLC.

Currently I am active as a trainer, motivational speaker, business / personal coach, clinical supervisor and personal trainer (I am a Certified Personal Trainer by the National Federation of Personal Trainers).  My focus / approach to life coaching is as a Reality Coach™.  I am a member of the International Association of Certified Coaches (IAC).   

I am committed to common sense conservation [I am a former West Fairlee Conservation Commissioner].  My partner and I steward 110 acres of Vermont forestland (Tree Farm #1464) developing agri-forest products like ginseng, in addition to timber and are both Cooperators through Vermont Coverts.  I am active in Toastmasters, currently serving as District 45 Area 20 Governor.  I volunteer with the West Fairlee Fire Department, and serve my community as elected Town Lister and Constable.  In my spare time I teach at the Community College of Vermont.

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Scott is a member of the MINT

Scott is a member of the MINT
Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers