|William R. Miller, Ph.D
Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
University of New Mexico
William R. Miller, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he joined the faculty in 1976. He has taught a wide range of subjects, including courses on alcoholism and abnormal psychology, and seminars on positive psychology and on self-fulfilling prophecies. His primary scientific interest is in the psychology of change, but his research spans the treatment of addictive behaviors, self-regulation, spirituality and psychology, motivation for change, and pastoral psychology. He has been a visiting scholar at the Oregon Health Sciences University, the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Stanford University, and the University of Bergen and the Hjellestad Clinic in Norway.
Miller has changed the way clinicians think about the nature of substance abuse disorders, their treatment and the means to effect change in patients. Early in his career, he emphasized that not all alcohol problems are severe and tested briefer interventions for mid-range problem drinkers.
He developed a behavioral self-control training program, successfully testing it with less dependent problem drinkers.
Miller also re-conceptualized client motivation for change as the product not of personality, but of the interpersonal interaction of client and counselor. In 1983 he introduced the clinical method of Motivational Interviewing, designed to evoke clients' own intrinsic motivation for change. It was a stark contrast to the confrontational treatment methods of the time, and has since become one of the most widely used methods for treating addictions.
As an administrator, Miller has directed UNM's clinical psychology training program, managed a practice group (Behavior Therapy Associates), directed a large public substance abuse treatment program, and co-directed UNM's Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions. He also chaired an Initial Review Group for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the steering committee for NIAAA's multisite Project MATCH trial, and a Trans-Institute working group on Research on Spirituality and Health for the National Institutes of Health.
Miller has served as principal investigator for a number of research grants and contracts, for agencies as diverse as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the U.S. Department of Education. His research has been recognized by the international Jellinek Memorial Award, and a career achievement award from the American Psychological Association's Division 50 (Addiction).
An author or editor of more than 40 books and monographs, Miller has been interviewed or quoted by both national and international broadcast and print media, including The New York Times, National Public Radio, ABC Nightline and Pravda. Among his books-under-contract are “Controlling Your Drinking” for Guilford Press, and Miller, W.R., & Delaney, H.D. (Eds.) "Judeo-Christian Perspectives on Psychology: Human Nature, Motivation, and Change." Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (In Press). His poetry has appeared in several reviews and his photography has appeared in a publication by Prentice-Hall.
Miller earned his B.A. degree at Lycoming College, graduating magna cum laude. He majored in psychology and minored in philosophy. He attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Oregon.
View William R. Miller's Profile
William R. Miller, Ph.D., 2003 Innovator Award Recipient, and his colleague, Kathleen M. Carroll, Ph.D. published their new book, Rethinking Substance Abuse: What the Science Shows, and What We Should Do about It. This state-of-the-art book brings together leading experts to describe what treatment and prevention would look like if it were based on the best science available. To read more click on the book cover provided.