We are creatures of habit. What our clients become accustomed to is their comfort zone and sometimes that comfort zone is not so comfortable or doesn’t serve our clients – it might be less a groove of habit than it is a rut of behavioural focus that seems impossible to change. We hear so many self-limiting beliefs expressed by our clients: ‘you don’t understand, I can’t quit smoking/overeating’ or ‘I am overwhelmed by _________’ etc. Clients feel trapped, locked into behaviour as though they are on some treadmill they can’t seem to stop. And yet that behavioural ‘prison’ is the beast they know; kind of like the often-characterized definition of behavioural insanity – doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. One of the key principles and techniques professionals can use to support clients in making real changes in the face of what seems like overwhelming obstacles is shifting perspectives. The ‘I can’t’ example mentioned above is a self-limiting perspective, a lens or a way of looking at one’s situation. What is critical is working with clients to help them ‘see’ through a different lens. For example, what if you could get the ‘I can’t’ client to a place of ‘I might’ or ‘I’m willing to try’ or ‘I can’? All of those places are new perspectives, new ways of ‘looking’ at and living with a situation (overeating, smoking cessation, whatever the issue). Instead of trying to fix the situation (what MI practitioners refer to as the righting reflex of health professionals), we can invite clients to try on a new lens, to be in the place of ‘I can’ and trying that perspective out for a period of time to see what might be available to them in moving toward their own change at their own pace. Some people observe that in life, shit happens; in MI, shiFt happens. And our experience is a shift in perspective is a miracle in terms of the potential for real health behaviour change.
- Monarch Level 3 Motivational Interviewing Progressive Workshop for the WECHC ~ 2 X half-days, 7 & 14 May 2021 [via Zoom] on May 7, 2021 9:00 am
- Monarch Level 1 Motivational Interviewing and Coaching Tools for Healthcare Professionals ~ 11 July 2021 [via Zoom] on July 11, 2021 10:30 am
- Advanced Motivational Interviewing & Coaching Tools for Healthcare Professionals ~ 12 September 2021 [via Zoom] on September 12, 2021 10:30 am