Choosing WHAT to Reflect…

Your client who comes in weekly is stuck in ambivalence.  HOW do you help them get out of the quicksand and have a different kind of conversation?

One thing we teach in Motivational Interviewing is WHAT to reflect. Are you reflecting the ambivalence, or the vision of your client?  How do you cherry pick the flowers out of the shrubbery?

If you “invite” the client to discuss the problem, guess what you will hear for the reminder of the session?  You will hear more of the problem. Choosing what to reflect can be instrumental in turning the conversation towards change  and “change talk.”

For example, for a client struggling with alcohol do you ask them the details of their last binge or do you ask about what keeps them out of the binge?

“What led you to drinking last night” or “on nights you are able to successfully not drink what helps?’  The client has to think about what keeps them clean, and articulate it out loud. When  you reflect their statement it creates a double reflection to their brain on what keeps them sober. It’s called forming new neural pathways in the brain towards change.

If you choose to not reflect the ambivalence the client will more likely let it go which further focuses the conversation towards change and vision.

Choosing what to reflect is a small change in you which could create that large shift in your conversations around change.  Your work will become much more satisfying besides being life changing for those you are counseling leading to less “quicksand” conversations.