Motivational Interviewing at ACO




ACO’s Motivational Interviewing (MI) Pilot- A project supporting gay, bi, queer and other men who have sex with men – trans and cis – (GBQMSM) to have better sex lives, sexual relationships, and sexual health!

What is in MI?

MI at ACO is a 4-week one-on-one program offered by the AIDS Committee of Ottawa. Through discussions and exercises with one of our program specifically trained staff, you will have a chance to meaningfully talk about and reflect on sexuality, sexual relationships, and sexual health – whatever that means to you. By the end of the fourth session, you will be able to identify actions that will help you make changes to meet your goals.

How is MI different from other services you received?

The program is designed with reference to a well-recognized personal development approach, called Motivational Interviewing, (MI). You do not need to know what MI is about before using the program. All you need to know it is an approach that respects people’s own need, pace and strength for identifying change that can support their growth.

This approach has been piloted in a number of AIDS Service Organizations in Ontario, and GBQMSM reported positive experiences in learning more about themselves, and what they could do to improve their (sex) lives.

How did MI at ACO start?

The shame, judgment and stereotypes surrounding GBQMSM often shut down any open and honest dialogue about their sexuality, sexual relationships and sexual health.  We believe that GBQMSM should have equal rights and opportunities to enjoy SEX, and we strive to:

  • provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss your concerns (and wishes/fantasies) about how you, as a gay, bi, queer man, can better enjoy sex and relationships.
  • offer encouragement, alternatives, tools, and inspiration for making a positive change to have the sex and relationships you want AND care about the sexual health of yourself and other guys you love or play with (TRUST us, condom use is not the only issue to be discussed in MI sessions!)

Who joins our MI pilot?

This program is for YOU if you are a gay, bi, or queer-identified guy who likes (to have sex with) other guys.

Who delivers the program?

MI at ACO is offered by our agency staff that has been trained in MI. They are gay and queer-identified guys who have lived experience in GBQMSM communities.

As a pilot program, MI Supervisors are in place to support the staff for quality program delivery. The MI Supervisors are gay, HIV-positive men.

How long is the program?

You will be expected to meet with our staff for all 4-6 weekly sessions (We do ask for a “committed” relationship here). Each session lasts around 45 – 50 minutes.

What happens during sessions?

It will have interactive discussions and exercises to help you identify goals for a positive (sex) life change. Your goals can be directly or indirectly related to your sex life, sexual relationships, and sexual health. For example, this could include coming out, expanding your social circles, taking care of yourself physically, sex and substance use, romantic and platonic relationships, etc. We look at sexuality holistically through focusing on your mental, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing. We will work with you to make sure your goals are practical and achievable.

I’m still feeling a little shy about sharing some of my stuff related to sex and sexuality!

Talking about sex and sexuality can be nerve-racking or intense for some people. Meanwhile, some may have been looking for a safe space to openly talk about it. MI at ACO operates from a sex-positive, and anti-racism/anti-oppression perspective. There is zero tolerance for homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, stigma or judgments about age, body type, drug use, or the kinds of sex you have. Safety and comfort for all participants is a priority for us.

MI sessions are completely confidential: no real name is required and discussions in the program are kept among your facilitator and supervisor.

Anything else I should know?

There is no charge to take part.

Feeling interested to join ACO’s MI Pilot Project?

When you are interested to join, you will first attend a one-on-one casual, but confidential information session to make sure that MI at ACO is a good fit for you (just like a usual first date to get a sense if we are a match!).

Contact us for more information, or to book an information session:

Derek Cassidy
Men’s Outreach Coordinator
AIDS Committee of Ottawa
Office: 613-238-5014 ext 232 // Mobile: 613-614-4795