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Self-Care: Awareness and Practice

There is an adage that suggests, “your life does not get better by chance…it gets better by change.” In the health-caring professions, practitioners are very likely drawn to their professions by their care for humanity and health. Often, that caring component might translate or grow into a practice of putting everyone, certainly our clients or patients, ahead of ourselves in terms of life priorities; that is to say, we become so invested in helping others to make changes to better their health that the investment erodes or side-steps our own care. We might make up that we don’t have time for our own care with a kind of self-righteous devotion to the seemingly greater goal of caring for others. What if self care were to be perceived as a necessity, rather than a luxury in the work that we do? Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent…it is more about self preservation so that we can continue to care for our clients and patients in the most optimal fashion we can. Consider the larger implications of the familiar safety instructions from flight attendants during pre-flight communications with passengers: ” If there is a loss of cabin pressure, the panels above your seat will open, and oxygen masks will drop down. If this happens, place the mask over your nose and mouth, and adjust it as necessary. Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”  read more…

Michelangelo, magnificence, and the attitude of being ‘in’ Motivational Interviewing

In one School of professional coaching training, the Coaches Training Institute, one of the cornerstones of their co-active model of coaching is cogently phrased; the model holds that every person or client or person being coached/interviewed is Naturally Creative, Resourceful, and Whole (NCRW). To engage in coaching communication is to take up this NCRW attitude with every client. In essence, the expression means that behaviourally, nothing about the clent is broken or in need of fixing; instead, the client is whole, a remarkable entity of humanity. Each person inherently or naturally has her or his own level of creativity and resourcefulness. Thus, each person is held to be NCRW from the moment we meet the person and throughout all our interactions with him or her.It is a very different way of being in communication because it puts so much trust and belief on our clients’ potential for change. Miller and Rollnick refer to this same attitude as the Michelangelo Belief and they phrase the belief as this, “the capacity and potential for change and adherence is within every patient.” read more…

Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing & The Now

In the last few years, a great deal of research and media attention is being given to the concept/practice/idea of mindfulness. While it might seem like the flavour-of-the-moment buzz-word, to us it might also be perceived as an encapsulation or distillation of the spirit, processes, and core skills of Motivational Interviewing (MI). Most definitions of mindfulness are some derivation of this one: “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.” It is a way of framing the capacity of an individual to be present and attentive to what occurs within and around us, moment to moment. We would suggest that for most of us, being present, attentive, and in the moment is no small task because it’s not something you do; instead it’s a way to be, intentionally. Consider this video clip as a way to visualize mindfulness…
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Mirror in the New Year

Often, it seems to us, the ultimate goal of being a health professional is the same as that of being a parent; that is, to nurture and care for our patients/children so well that we become more or less redundant. On New Year’s Day, 2016, we would underscore the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” Working with our patients in behaviour change, motivational interviewing mode is not about solving a problem for/with them; rather, it is really about moving with them to see what aspect/s of their lives might be lived more fully. To paraphrase from the educational organization called The Mankind Project, when your client is looking for that one person who can change their life, that person might best be invited to take a look in the mirror. read more…

yes, and…Power-of-AND

One of the most under-appreciated words in the English language is the word ‘and,’ that tiny little con-junction or 3-letter joining word. Coke Zero ran an intriguing ad that is rich and instructive about how to use ‘and’ constructively for effective communication:

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The Tipping Point of Change

In his 2000 best seller, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceMalcolm Gladwell defined the tipping point as, “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” For the most part, Gladwell was examining sweeping social changes that began as small ideas that spread like viruses. Is there such a tipping point in individual behaviour change? Are there personal thresholds of health behaviour change? What makes them seem insurmountable? What does it take to dare to cross one of those thresholds? What do tipping points look like? Consider this example: read more…

Evoking transformation

To evoke is to summon or elicit or conjure or stimulate or arouse – all of these senses or synonyms of the word evoke reveal what doing Motivational Interviewing (MI) intends. Miller and Rollnick, the founders of Motivational Interviewing, talk about evoking transformation as the heart of MI. By engaging with clients or patients and being in the attitude, spirit, or mode of MI, we try to tease out change talk in clients by working with them to increase their own sense of the importance of a particular behaviour change, their confidence in making that change, and their readiness to move toward that change by taking a particular action and/or by learning more about the significance of that change in their lives. What we face sometimes are the ‘stories’ or labels that clients bring to an MI session or process. Consider the marvellous symbolism of this video clip and the kind of self-transformation that is implied: read more…

Skeletons Dancing, Screens Changing

At this website’s blog postings, we have discussed the importance of perception, perspectives, and really, truly seeing life-situations differently than that to which we are accustomed. We are and we experience what we believe; we shape what we expect; we create from our own, sometimes cherished ‘evidence’ about reality and human behaviour. Sometimes, it takes something poignant to remind us about the exquisiteness of each human being and the grand significance of human relationships. While not specifically about Motivational Interviewing, we felt that the importance of this remarkable video was so profoundly simple and so simply profound that we have included this clip into our regular blog topics: read more…

Not to decide is to decide

One of the definitions or characterizations of Motivational Interviewing (MI) is that it involves arranging conversations so people talk themselves into change based on their own values and interests (Miller and Rollnick, Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, 2013, p. 4). ‘Arranging conversations’ seems an apt descriptor of the process involved in taking up the spirit of MI. Like most things we do in life, entering into MI is a deliberate process; it is, in many ways, an attitude or an intentional way of being in a conversation. Clearly, not all conversations are MI-related. In order for a conversation to be MI, either or both of two things need to happen – you  work with a client either to deepen her learning and/or to get your client into an action, some behavioural change to which she commits. read more…

It’s Not About the Nail

In many of our blogs we have sought to underscore the importance of listening, really listening to our clients (See our empathy blog, for example). Sometimes, it is just seems so blatantly obvious to us exactly what the issue is with a client and we want so much to offer the oh-so-apparent fix, all, we believe, in service of the client we serve. Consider this humorous yet poignant vignette: read more…

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