William R. Miller, PhD
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry
University of New Mexico
Programee background: In 1983, William R. Miller, PhD, introduced "motivational interviewing" into the field of substance abuse treatment. Motivational interviewing is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. It has been widely incorporated into substance abuse treatment programs.
The award: In 2003, Miller received an Innovators Combating Substance Abuse award and used it to complete four projects that he had been contemplating but had not undertaken. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) created the Innovators program to nurture and promote innovation in combating substance abuse. Between 2000 and 2003, some 20 senior researchers, practitioners and policy-makers received Innovators awards. See Program Results Report for more information on the program.
Projects and Findings: Miller reported the following to RWJF about the projects he completed with his award:
Spiritual Intervention in Recovery and Treatment (SPIRIT) Project. Miller evaluated the effect of spiritual direction in combination with in-patient substance abuse treatment. Spiritual direction is the process of accompanying people on a spiritual journey as they explore the spiritual side of being human. Researchers recruited 60 patients from a 21-day treatment program in Albuquerque, N.M., and randomly assigned them to receive 12 sessions of spiritual direction as part of treatment or treatment without spiritual direction.
Practice-based Intervention for Substance Abuse (PISA) Project. Miller and colleagues placed a master's level behavioral specialist in a public family practice clinic operated by the University of New Mexico Hospitals. The specialist explored the feasibility of using a model for providing specialized substance abuse treatment in a primary care setting and refined the model.
Meta-Analytic Review of Motivational Interviewing Treatment Efficacy (MARMITE) Project. Miller assembled a comprehensive bibliography of publications on motivational interviewing.
Conference on Approaches for Combating the Troublesome Use of Substances (CACTUS) Project. Miller convened 16 scientists from different fields and asked them to temporarily set aside all current treatment systems and programs and use a scientific knowledge base to develop strategies for combating these problems.