The Core of Activating Motivation
Hello again and welcome to our 2nd blog on Motivational interviewing! We started the series with the plug “Motivating for Free!” and how motivation we see in our work follow certain steps or stages. If you want to take a look at these stages see our first blog, How To Get Motivated For Free, and remember the free book by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Enhancing Motivation for Change in Substance Abuse, that is free for anyone to download.
In today’s blog, I’m going to talk more about the basic principles of a therapist uses motivational interviewing. There are four basic principles for therapists or medical doctors to know:
Express Empathy For Yourself and Others
In other words, we need to start from a still place. The first step often is to neither accept or reject the behavior that we are trying to change. More importantly, apply some gentle pressure to the problem. Write about it. Discuss it with a trusted friend! Talk about it with a therapist! Make some guesses about why the problem might be happening.
Develop Discrepancy By Talking Your Problem
Develop Discrepancy- Talking about why a problem might be happening is the beginning of developing discrepancy. When does the behavior work? How is it positive or negative in its impact on your life? How might it be holding you back? This kind of therapy talk or self-talk often gives you a little space from the problem.
Roll with Resistance
In therapy, there’s a saying that “Anyone starting therapy has one foot still out the door” In other words, we all resist change. The best “judo” for this is to talk, talk, talk or write, write, write. Our first steps to change can take a while. You might not be able to see it but the talking is kind of like the engineer building the blueprint for the bridge to change behaviors.
As much as a book (or even more so a therapist) can be a powerful ally in changing our behaviors, we have to act on change. The first three steps lead to us finding a way to begin action when we’re ready. As we talk,…talk…talk more about behavior as a therapist we often see that our interest in changing become more important and we gain confidence in changing. Once we reach a critical “tipping point” in knowing the importance of change and gaining confidence we tend to be more able to act.
Wrapping up, MI really is more what we call a stance or “way of being” with people as opposed to a technique which we apply. I’m drawn to this idea because the most important part of getting help or helping yourself is being a human being during the process. By this I mean a gentle understanding sense of how hard motivating for change can be, especially when we get started. Stay tuned for more….