Some of you know I’m trained in Motivational Interviewing and now teach workshops in my office, in Los Angeles, and other parts of the country.
Since many of you have asked what it is I decided to devote a blog to it as well as start a separate blog on my site for professionals or those who want to learn more about it.
What is Motivational Interviewing (MI) and what is it used for? In 1995, I was in my first office when one of the therapists handed me a book called Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. Since I was in the business of helping patients with diet changes, it peaked my interest. Authors Bill Miller and Steven Rollnick define MI as
“a collaborative conversation style for strengthening a person’s own motivation and commitment to change.”
At that time, there were few trainings in MI in the US so I just read the book and tried a few of the concepts which seemed to work a little but did not go much further that that.
10 years later I realized I needed MI training. I went to several conferences and trainings to learn it as well as hiring an amazing MI coach, Annie Fahy, LCSW, RN.
Almost 5 years ago I got accepted into the training for MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network Trainers) and have been using MI in the office and doing trainings for health-care professionals since that time.
What does this language do for you as a patient? Most of us are ambivalent about some positive behavior change so how do we resolve the ambivalence?
MI is a style of being with people with skills that can foster motivation for change and resolve ambivalence.
How many times in your week do you actually get to hear all the messages in your head with someone to help sort it through without judgment?
MI states every person is an expert in himself or herself so the answers to behavior change reside within each of us. We sometimes just need to figure out what made us successful in the past and how we can pull from that experience with new changes.
Albert Schweitzer stated:
“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. They come to us knowing that truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.”
Mary Lou Casey stated: “What people really need is a good listening to.”
Sometimes the greatest gift someone can give is the purity of attention (Richard Moss).
The essence of MI is that people are naturally inclined to strive towards being the best person they can be.
In MI we find that motivation that is already there and use the language of MI to increase and strengthen motivation. If you want to find a practitioner who is trained in MI, go to the MINT website.