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Archived Conferences

Motivational Interviewing: Helping homeless veterans make needed changes to leave joblessness and homelessness behind

Date: December 11th, 2012
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EDT

Sponsors: National Veterans Technical Assistance (NVTAC), a Project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University


Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative, person-centered approach to elicit and strengthen motivation to change. Proven to be effective in numerous research studies in a variety of situations, MI is an “evidenced-based practice”. It offers providers a useful framework for being with and interacting with veterans who are experiencing homelessness or struggling with substance use, mental illness, and traumatic experiences. It can be useful to staff in the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program as they help veterans move from unemployment to a job; from homelessness to permanent housing. Motivational Interviewing is rooted in an understanding of how hard it is to change learned behaviors, many of which have been essential to survival on the streets.

The presentation will be followed by responses from staff at two HVRPs who will:

  • consider the need for tools to help veterans make changes in their lives;
  • describe how Motivational Interviewing and/or Stages of Change might be implemented in their programs; and
  • make suggestions to their colleagues

Presenter/ Respondents

Presenter: Bruce Emery, Senior Program Associate - Advocates for Human Potential

Lindsay Wieland Capel, LMSW, Veterans Program Manager
Goodwill | Grand Rapids, MI
Tom Stagg, Employment Access Center Central City Concern



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JBruce Emery, MEd, MSW
Senior Program Associate,
Advocates for Human Potential
''Mr. Emery is Deputy Director of Advocate for Human Potential's (AHP) Technical Assistance Center, focusing on state behavioral health system transformation; recovery-oriented systems of care; and developing sound business practices in mental health and substance abuse services. Prior to joining AHP, Inc., he was senior consultant at Strategic Partnership Solutions, providing support to public authorities in transforming their mental health, substance use and co-occurring substance use and psychiatric disorders systems and services to align with best practices in management, clinical and recovery services. He has almost 40 years experience as an educator, clinician, consultant, trainer, mediator, and technical assistance expert specializing in substance abuse and mental health systems. He directed a county-based community mental health and substance abuse center; headed the office of technical assistance and training at the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare; was the founding director of the National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health at NASMHPD.  As Assistant Commissioner for Substance Abuse Services in Tennessee's Department of Mental Health, Emery created partnerships with health care providers, law enforcement and corrections and active duty military and veterans organizations.  Emery staffed the national collaboration project for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders between NASMHPD and the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) for six years. A clinical social worker, he was trained as a family and civil mediator in 1991 by the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Center in the District of Columbia Superior Court.