Developing a Training in Motivational Counselling to Promote Return to Work: An Intervention Mapping Approach

I Rymenans, A van den Broeck, C Vanovenberghe, M Du Bois, E Lauwerier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Due to the Belgian health insurance system’s controlling nature, work-disabled claimants can feel forced to return to work (RTW), increasing their risk of relapse. RTW out of interest or importance is considered more sustainable. Such autonomous motivation for RTW can be promoted through ‘motivational counselling’, an integration of self-determination theory and motivational interviewing. To adopt this, health insurance practitioners need training, which can be designed through intervention mapping as an evidence-based planning tool. This paper reports on the development of a motivational counselling training for health insurance practitioners.
Intervention mapping’s six steps guided the formulation of programme goals and learning outcomes, matching the context. We then identified change methods which were translated into practical components. Together with the health insurances' input, this resulted in a concrete training programme with an implementation and evaluation plan.
The training was designed to increase practitioners’ knowledge, skills, and beliefs relevant for learning motivational counselling, which also requires solution-focused strategies. Methods like guided practice were translated into built-in exercises, feedback, and information, which were implemented through an online training format of five sessions including one follow-up.
Reporting about training development increases understanding of its effectiveness and implementation, which will be evaluated via pre- and post-training data collection amongst practitioners. Future trainings can benefit from this by accounting for health insurances' organizational barriers or building on the training’s evidence-based backbone whilst only requiring specific adaptations for other stakeholders and contexts. Further research should evaluate motivational counselling’s impact on claimants’ RTW trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2024


  • Intervention mapping
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Return to work
  • Self-determination theory
  • Work disability


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