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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…

Resilience in MI work

Many health professionals no longer speak or counsel about prevention when it comes to buttressing oneself against disease or unhealthy situations or factors. A flu shot does not prevent getting the flu. In some ways, the idea of ill-health prevention sets us up with false expectation. On a daily basis, we all encounter different risks to our health, such is life. Instead, a more meaningful and realistic concept might be risk management; that is, managing healthy behaviour is likely more about how well we adapt to the stressors in our lives. Resilience is generally considered as positive adaptation following a stressful situation. All of the literature on psychological resilience points to the importance of realizing that resilience is a dynamic process. There might be trait resilience – one individual might have a greater capacity for ‘bouncing back’ following a stressful event. read more…

NO to KNOW

There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice,” British essayist Joseph Addison, early 18th Century.

Client resistance is such a big concept and can seem an insurmountable barrier in Motivational Interviewing. We know that recognizing and rolling with resistance is a key variable in effective MI work with our clients. Resistance behaviours include things like blaming others, making excuses, ignoring clues or signs, minimizing importance or significance, and challenging any suggestions for change. In short, clients find ways to say, and often have lived in the place of NO, – as in they can’t or are not ready to change. Rolling with resistance is not easy, in fact, it might be the most difficult and seeminlgy time-consuming process to learn in using MI. Miller and Rollnick (in Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, 3rd edition, 2012), emphasize the mindful work that goes into MI practice in their concept of shifting status talk – the way it is – to change talk – the way it might be if the client were ready to change. Another way to frame the process is to think of the KNOW sandwich. read more…

Walking Through Walls

There is a delightful, fanciful prose-poem by Louis Jenkins; it’s called, appropriately enough, Walking Through A Wall. Jenkins draws the reader’s attention to the wall texture, how to approach the wall, his experiences with walking through walls, and the feeling of exhilaration when the Wall-Walker emerges from the wall:

“The best approach to a wall is, first, two hands placed flat against the surface; it’s a matter of concentration and just the right pressure. You will feel the dry, cool inner wall with your fingers, then there is a moment of total darkness before you step through on the other side.” read more…

Where the Magic Happens

Sometimes our clients’ resistance is about staying in that place in which they are most familiar, the way it’s always been, the status quo, the ‘beast they know.’ That place is also called the Comfort Zone. There appears to be a safety component to staying where we know we can’t get hurt, where risk seems to be minimized, and where there is no movement. We all need a comfort zone and we all need the ability to return to safe-haven when we need to do so. And, it might be that some of our clients are nestled here because fear paralyzes them or because anything else seems impossible. What if we could stimulate our clients to dip a toe outside of their comfort zone and into the pool of possibility, or, at least peek out a window of opportunity toward their next step in the behaviour change process. Consider this representation of what that next step might offer: read more…

Motivational Reinforcement ~ The Beauty Patch

One of the more intriguing advertizing initiatives launched by Dove was its Beauty Patch enterprise. For the past decade, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has used female empowerment as an advertising tactic, an apparently altruistic strategy to entice customers with the concept that women are more beautiful than they think they are. The Beauty Patch crusade is one in which six women were asked by body image psychologist Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke to wear Dove’s RB-X ‘beauty patch’ for 12 hours a day over the course of two weeks. During that period, the women were invited to keep a daily video diary. read more…

Sparking Behaviour Change from Self-Relationship Realizations

From our experience, it seems like many of the health issues that our clients present to us – dietary habits, struggles with body weight, smoking behaviours, oral health behaviours etc – are less about those particular manifestations than they are about deeper issues. We would offer that these are more symptomatic behaviours that stem from clients relationships to themselves or some aspect of themselves. For example, struggles with body weight might be about a client’s relationship to his or her body and/or to her or his relationship to food. Often, we spend a lot of time working on these transparent symptoms without really getting at the root of or behind the veil of the symptomatic behaviour. read more…

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