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Digital Seminar

Motivational Interviewing for High-Functioning Autism in Adulthood: An Insider’s Perspective

Sean Inderbitzen, DSW, LCSW, MINT
1 Hour 31 Minutes
Audio and Video
Apr 23, 2021
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Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Join autism expert Sean Inderbitzen, APSW, MINT, as he teaches you—from an insider’s perspective— how to use Motivational Interviewing techniques (MI) with your adult clients on the autism spectrum.

In this rare opportunity, Sean will guide you through MI techniques that will help your clients improve: 

  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Social pragmatics 
  • Communication 
  • Self-esteem  
  • Emotion identification 
  • Intrinsic motivation 
  • “Black” and “white” thinking 
  • Navigating ambiguity 
  • Find what changes to pursue  
  • Resistance to change 

Learning effective techniques from a clinician on the spectrum will give you the essential skills and perspective you need to help your clients overcome the treatment obstacles that can impede the therapy they desperately need.

Stop feeling frustrated, ineffective and perpetually stuck at square one in therapy—PURCHASE TODAY! 


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 1.75 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Sean Inderbitzen, DSW, LCSW, MINT's Profile

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Sean Inderbitzen, DSW, LCSW, MINT, has lived 32 years with autism spectrum disorder and is an active clinical social worker within a community health center specializing in the treatment of Autism and co-occurring trauma. He graduated from Tulane School of Social Work in spring of 2023 and was awarded $40,000 by Mayo Clinic to investigate the impacts of increased pediatrician confidence on access to patients suspected of autism spectrum disorder in rural medical settings.

Additionally, Dr. Inderbitzen’s research team (Katie Diebold, LMSW and colleagues) are studying the effectiveness of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy on children with PTSD and Autism Spectrum Disorder, in consultation with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and under the guidance of Dr. Bonnie Goldstein. In addition to research, he maintains an active practice in a community mental health center working with persons on the Autism Spectrum. Dr. Inderbitzen is mentored by such innovators as Dr. Stephen Porges and consults with organizations on autism spectrum disorder and Motivational Interviewing. He is an active member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, and his writings can be found regularly featured on, and has a forthcoming book from W.W. Norton, called Autism in Polyvagal Terms.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Sean Inderbitzen has employment relationships with Northlakes Community Clinic and Inderbitzen Consulting Services, LLC. He receives royalties as a published author. Sean Inderbitzen receives grants from Mayo Clinic Health Systems. He receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Sean Inderbitzen has a professional relationship with Dr. Stephen Porges.


  1. Justify the importance of using person-centred strategies with ASD patients.
  2. Utilize MI to integrate understanding of pragmatic language skills, motivation and depressive symptoms.
  3. Employ MI strategies such as flipping the righting reflex, menu of options type questions and OARS to treat anxiety and depression in adults with HFA.


  • Motivational Interviewing (MI) and ASD: What the Research Says 
    • Matching developmental freedom and personal autonomy: Activity 
    • Recommendations for balancing safety and autonomy 
    • Person-centred strategies and their impact on patients with ASD 
    • Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) and MI  
  • MI Techniques for Improving Pragmatic Language 
    • Exercise on social pragmatics and depression (Thomas Gordon’s process) 
    • Case study: Social pragmatics and meaning-making 
    • Social pragmatics and its effect on self-esteem and motivation 
    • Help clients navigate ambiguity 
    • Decreasing “black” and “white” thinking patterns 
    • Increasing clients ability to identify reasons for change and build motivation 
    • Responding to change talk in HFA 
    • Hacks for social pragmatics 
  • MI Strategies for Treating Anxiety and Depression 
    • Recognize “black” and “white” thinking patterns 
    • Open-ended questions, Affirmations, Reflections and Summaries (OARS) 
    • Cultivate change talk for motivation: Case example 
    • OARS real play activity 
    • Flipping the righting reflex demonstration 
    • Evoking confidence for change in HFA: Exercise 
    • Menu of Options – using closed-ended questions 
    • MI risk and limitations in ASD population 

Target Audience

  • Addiction Professionals 
  • Case Managers 
  • Dieticians 
  • Licensed Clinical/Mental Health Counselors 
  • Marriage & Family Therapists 
  • Nurses 
  • Nursing Home/Assisted Living Administrators 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants 
  • Physical Therapists 
  • Psychologists 
  • School Administrators 
  • Social Workers 
  • Speech-Language Pathologists 
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel 

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