Climbing the Wall of Change Talk

56e0c5a7-fbcf-4402-91a2-b839d1676dccThere’s no greater feeling as a practitioner when you hear your client arguing for change instead of you trying to convince them of change.

  • “I think I could quit smoking in the next 3 months”
  • “I really want to lose 10 pounds”
  • “Drinking is not the celebration I thought it once was”

So how do you generate those types of conversations and as we say in MI “shift away from the jaws of ambivalence?”

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Spicing up your Motivational Interviewing Skills

IMG_2113Motivational Interviewing is a language and skill that takes time to learn. As one of the founders of MI Bill Miller states:

“In some ways MI is simple, but mastering it is neither quick or easy.”

So how do you increase your skills besides just going to a workshop and reading MI materials?

Submit a client conversation tape for coding.  It’s the sweet way to build your collection of skills.

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What We Say MATTERS: The Working Alliance

Part of any successful relationship, personal or business is the working alliance.

Is there a true partnership? How is the collaboration?

Through learning and teaching Motivational Interviewing I realize the working alliance is not only important, but also vitally essential.

How do your words “land” on your clients? Are their eyes shining? How is your language being received?

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Suspending Advice

flower_blog_9230If you could be a fly on the wall, what would you like to hear your client reveal to their friends about your session with them?

Do you want to be seen as helpful and empathetic or someone who was trying to fix their situation?

Recently I gave a brief 1-hour Motivational Interviewing (MI) workshop for physicians at their weekly meeting for research and learning.

Following the workshop, a few of the physicians asked “what is it in us as physicians that we feel compelled to try to fix others?”

Perhaps the real question is “what is it in us as human beings that we think we have the ability to find solutions for another’s problems?


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Reflections: It’s Complex

Blue Consultation-1When you’re trying to learn Motivational Interviewing, where do you begin? We know we can’t learn Spanish or French in a day so what’ the best skill to focus on in learning the language of MI?

The skill of complex reflections: complex to learn but can make most impact.

The first step in moving away from your comfort zone is backing away from questions.

Well-formed complex reflections thicken and color what the client is saying by adding more texture than what they said but not more than they meant.

This serves your session is several ways. First it slows your client down and gives them more of a sense of their world which is in itself attention getting. Second, it buys you some time to explore and strategize about how to navigate.   And you will catch things in the net of reflections even if you unsure of where exactly conversation is going.

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Straying from Advice Giving

IMG_1888I never wanted to be just an “advice-giver”. Dietitians are typically trained to give diet education, create meal plans, and relay food rules about what to eat and what to avoid. Eating is habitual, and habits are hard to break. Thus, a true motivation is required to build momentum for the long haul of change making. Simply put, the conventional formula of meal plans and sheer willpower just aren’t sustainable enough to power long-term change.

I yearned for a more authentic and therapeutic way to communicate with clients, rather than offering a meal plan and hoping for compliance. When I was introduced to Motivational Interviewing (MI) at a beginner workshop led by Susan, I was in awe as the concepts of communication that resonated so deeply with me.

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Meeting People at Their Dreams: Changing the Dynamics of your Conversation

06fa1e44-f57d-476d-864b-8bfa98275447Last week I had the opportunity to attend and assist in a Motivational Interviewing workshop in Portland, Maine with Stephen Andrew, who is one of the “trainer of trainers” as he’s been training in MI for over 20 years.

It was a life-changing experience for me and I learned many wonderful things during those 3 days, which are worth sharing over time on this blog so here’s the beginning.

If we meet people where they are at, we stay and remain with them in the problem.

Focusing on the problem just reinforces it and focusing on the dream changes the whole dynamics of a conversation.

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Finding the Honey in your MI Practice!

So you’ve read the MI book, been to the training, and practiced reflections until you dream in complex reflections.

Now what?

It might be time to make a tape of your practice for coaching and feedback. Maybe someone has asked you to do it. Maybe you are ready to bump up your skills. Maybe someone is asking you to supervise others. Maybe you understand that it’s the best way to improve strategizing in the moment with MI skills because you begin to witness yourself without judgment and change what you are doing if it’s not working.

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Your Conversation is the Best Medicine

photoWorking in health care these days is like cooking a big dinner on eight burners with two ovens going. Most professionals want to spend their time improving patient health and well-being. The brief time available with patients is often dominated by an avalanche of required tasks.  Data collection with a computer between health care workers and the patient make meaningful interactions difficult.

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Understanding the Power of Motivational Interviewing

IMG_9268As a soon to be registered dietitian (RD), I have completed school and my internship. I am currently preparing for the RD exam and getting ready to embark on my new career. But…as part of this new journey, I wanted to make sure I had all of the tools necessary to be the best RD I could in this ever-changing world.

This meant being able to have a language to help my patients achieve their desired health goals. Yet as the British poet Joseph Addison said it best, “There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice.”

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© Copyright 2018 SGJ Consulting, Inc. Motivational Interviewing Trainer