May 11, 2020
Molly Magill’s interest in psychology and social work started in high school and grew into her passion and ultimately, her career. She earned her bachelor and graduate degrees from Boston University and a certificate in alcohol and substance abuse studies from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Magill is an associate research professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Director of Biostatistics at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. In 2019, Dr. Magill was awarded the Independent Scientist Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Her current research is focused on therapist or counselor training methods that are based on common factors of established behavioral interventions. The training method that is most exciting to Dr. Magill is motivational interviewing (MI). This technique recognizes there are multiple avenues to change and that the therapist’s job is to activate the natural process for clients. Dr. Magill believes the “gifts” that MI gave to addictions research and the clinical field are, love, appreciation, acceptance, and compassion for clients and a way to operationalize and train people how to do it. The training culture had gotten away from providing on-the-spot feedback to therapists. Now, because of motivational interviewing, instant feedback becoming popular again. According to Dr. Magill, MI forces you to stop, be present, and listen and believe what the clients says matters and is of value. This is a good practice for people everywhere to follow.