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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Using Motivational Interviewing to Enhance Autonomy, Trust, and Parenting Plan Effectiveness

This project brings together practitioner experts from the College of Law, the Mediation Center, and the Office of Dispute Resolution, with research experts from the Public Policy Center,[1] to conduct a pilot project and generate data that will be leveraged to apply for an NSF Law and Social Sciences grant.

The team’s long-term goal is to enhance parenting plan effectiveness by improving and establishing best practices for mediation of parenting plans. The short-term objective is to examine Motivational Interviewing (MI)[i] as a promising method for enhancing parenting plans. MI has been proven efficacious for enhancing successful outcomes in clinical, legal, and educational contexts involving change and acceptance, but has not yet been widely applied in the area of mediation and alternative dispute resolution. We hypothesize that motivational interviewing will improve mediation outcomes by enhancing trust in the process, trust in the mediator, and ownership and acceptance of elements of the parenting plan. Testing this hypothesis will not only advance understanding of effective parenting plan mediation processes, but could result in the development of processes that save states thousands of dollars in legal fees.

[1] The PI previously had discussions with PPC, but has not yet used PPC services due to prior lack of funding.

[i] Miller, William R., and Stephen Rollnick. Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. New York, NY: Guilford, 2013.

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